Education is not one of the core competences of the EU and so the role of the European Parliament and other EU institutions is mainly limited to supporting Member States through non-binding opinions and recommendations, bench-marking and the exchange of best practices. EU provides funding for education, most notably through the flagship Erasmus+ programme which is closely scrutinized by Members of the European Parliament. Having this in mind, here is the analysis of the Parliament’s progress on a selection of topics in the field of education.

Follow-up of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020)

Vote Breakdown

409

For

108

Against

65

Abstain

130

Absent

259 votes required to pass.

In June 2016 the Parliament voted on a resolution for the Follow-up of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020). The report, drafted by Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR, Poland), recommended that Member States make better use of this cooperation and called for stronger coordination between the EU institutions and civil society organisations in order to ensure genuine dialogue and better policy coherence. The motion was largely supported by the Parliament’s largest political groups (EPP, S&D, ALDE, ECR) but opposed by the smaller groups (Greens/EFA, GUE-NGL, EFDD, ENF).

 

Erasmus+ and other tools to foster mobility in vocational education and training

Vote Breakdown

577

For

37

Against

90

Abstain

22

Absent

308 votes required to pass.

In April 2016 the Parliament adopted a resolution on Erasmus+ and other tools to foster mobility in vocational education and training. The report, submitted by Ernest Maragall (Greens/EFA, Spain), addressed the need to improve the quality and the quantity of mobility in the field of VET, underlining the importance of equal access to mobility for VET learners who are often from lower socio-economic backgrounds, the need to promote all available mobility options and the importance of recognising newly acquired competences. The report was largely backed by all political groups, with the exception of the ECR and EFDD groups.

Implementation of Erasmus+

Vote Breakdown

497

For

39

Against

60

Abstain

88

Absent

269 votes required to pass.

In February 2017 the Parliament voted on a resolution concerning the Implementation of Erasmus+. The report, drafted by Milan Zver (EPP, Slovenia), recalled the vital role Erasmus+ plays in fostering European identity and integration, solidarity, quality employment, social cohesion and youth labour mobility by making a positive contribution to the improvement of European education and training systems. It recognised the improvements made by the Commission in light of difficulties encountered in the first two and a half years of the programme’s implementation, but called for a further reduction of bureaucratic obstacles. The report received the support of almost all political groups.

 

Promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training

Vote Breakdown

534

For

121

Against

52

Abstain

25

Absent

328 votes required to pass.

In September 2015 the Parliament adopted a resolution on Promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training. The report, submitted by Michaela Šojdrová (EPP, Czech Republic), called for education systems to include aspects of entrepreneurship in the curricula at all levels and paid special attention to the training of teachers, informal learning and the practical dimension of learning through project-based cooperation with entrepreneurs and the private sector. The motion was supported by the EPP, S&D, ALDE and Greens/EFA but largely opposed by the EFDD, ECR and GUE-NGL groups.

New Skills Agenda

In June 2017 the Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and Committee on Culture and Education adopted a joint report on a New skills agenda for Europe.

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Europass

In June 2017 the Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and Committee on Culture and Education adopted a joint report on the revision of Europass.

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Towards 2019

One of the main areas of work for the Parliament in the run-up to the 2019 elections will be deciding on a post-2020 successor to the Erasmus+ programme.

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Standout MEPS

Krystyna Łybacka
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats

MEP Krystyna Łybacka has a keen interest in education and this is at the core of her parliamentary work. She has campaigned for Erasmus+ to be truly accessible to everyone. She prepared a report on the implementation of the Bologna process and is currently working on the modernisation of education in the EU. She is also Vice-Chair of the EP Interest Group on Lifelong Learning.

Sirpa Pietikainen
Group of the European People's Party

MEP Sirpa Pietikainen has given particular focus to the importance of quality education systems which can provide people with the range of skills they need to tackle today's complex challenges and the mobility required to succeed in today's job market. In particular, she engages in regular dialogue with young people and youth organisations in Finland and at the European level, working to raise their key needs and messages on various issues including education and skills development. She is also Chair of the EP Interest Group on Lifelong Learning.