Proposals to strengthen European identity through education and culture whilst harnessing its full potential as a driver for job creation, economic growth and social fairness were debated at today’s Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture. Introducing her draft opinion, Tanya Hristova, Mayor of Gabrovo Municipality and rapporteur for the file, stressed:

A closer relationship between education and culture could help to strengthen a European identity by promoting the awareness of fundamental values, such as democracy and tolerance, intercultural competencies, critical thinking, media literacy and cultural capabilities. This will help to turn our European youth into creative, critical and open citizens.

With 2018 being dedicated to the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the recent EU Leaders meeting in Gothenburg looking at how the EU’s education and culture policies can make a greater impact on the creation of jobs, economic growth and social fairness throughout the EU, both policy areas are high on the current political agenda. Mayor Hristova therefore wants to take advantage of this momentum given that human capital is one of the most precious resources for growth and innovation. She therefore proposes that support for these policies is granted in the discussions regarding the future of Europe, the MFF negotiations and the work of the European Commission task-force on subsidiarity and proportionality.

Other topics covered in the opinion include; education as a factor for tackling youth unemployment, rebuilding social inclusion and active participation; the need to keep up with digital, entrepreneurial and language learning needs; as well as ensuring equal opportunities, which enable people from all social backgrounds to acquire the “forward-looking knowledge, skills and competences they need for a successful life and as the right competences to progress and prosper professionally and enable them to become engaged citizens“. Mobility, recognition of training and lifelong learning certificates, as well as endeavors to boost the Erasmus+ programme, was also warmly welcomed in the draft opinion, which will be put to vote at the May Plenary Session.

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