The social dimension in the Future of Europe debate<p>During the Gothenburg Social Summit, EU heads of state and government discussed social policy and held their first informal debate under the <a title="PDF Agenda of European Council" href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/21594/leaders-agenda.pdf" target="_blank">Leaders’ Agenda</a>.</p><p>The Leaders’ Agenda was adopted by the 28 European Union (EU) member states in October this year and defines the main issues the EU intends to work on until June 2019. It is part of the reflections on the <a title="SwissCore article" href="https://www.swisscore.org/Pages/Detail.aspx?CrmId={BA4BD7EC-4712-E711-80C9-005056B7191C}&ContentType=scArticle">Future of the EU</a> and was drafted by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who consulted all EU leaders bilaterally. Education, research and innovation are part of the Agenda and are all considered issues that “require discussions aimed at resolving deadlocks or finding solutions to key political dossiers”. While an informal discussion on research and innovation is scheduled for 22-23 March 2018, education was part of the first topics to be discussed under the Leaders’ Agenda during the Gothenburg Social Summit on 17 November.</p> <p> </p> <p>In their informal discussion on how to push forward the European education and culture agenda, the leaders reflected on <a title="European Council note" href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/31544/en_leaders-agenda-note-on-education-and-culture.pdf" target="_blank">concrete ideas</a> such as scaling-up of mobility and exchanges for young Europeans, a network of European universities, and an Erasmus for young artists. Ahead of the meeting and as a contribution to the discussion, the European Commission (EC) published a <a title="SwissCore article" href="https://www.swisscore.org/Pages/Detail.aspx?CrmId={F7B71F84-C1D5-E711-80CA-005056B7191C}&ContentType=scArticle">proposal</a> that pushes forward the idea of a European Education Area and outlines six discussion points, including the launch of a ‘Sorbonne process’ for the mutual recognition of school diplomas and the creation of a School of European and Transnational Governance.</p> <p> </p> <p>The principles spelled out in the European <a title="Interinstitutional proclamation" href="http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-13129-2017-INIT/en/pdf" target="_blank">Pillar of Social Rights</a> proclaimed during the Social Summit in Gothenburg will also play a role in the discussions on a renewed European education and culture agenda. Indeed, of the 20 principles on equal opportunities and access to labour market, dynamic labour markets and fair working conditions, as well as public support/social protection and inclusion, the “right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning” is stated in the first place.</p> <p> </p> <p>All in all, in their discussion, the leaders clearly highlighted their political support for enhanced cooperation in education. They will adopt related conclusions in their December meeting. In this pivotal period for the future of Europe, with Brexit negotiations and the preparation of the next European budget, education is gaining visibility on the overall European agenda. It is not the first time: when the Europe 2020 growth strategy was prepared, it was already the case, but it was mainly triggered by the low youth unemployment rates. Today, it is the need to give a new endeavour to Europe’s social dimension that prevails.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p>European Education Area, Leaders' agenda, European Pillar of Social Rights, Future of Europehttps://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/Article/DispForm.aspx?ID=9132017-11-29T23:00:00ZscArticle{C98D7521-C1D5-E711-80CA-005056B7191C}https://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/ArticleImages/Future_of_Europe_.png, https://www.swisscore.org/Lists/Public/ArticleImages/Future_of_Europe_.png