Monday 5 July 2010

Europe 2020 strategy: Flagship initiative Youth on the move

Education is at the heart of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move, which aims at improved employability and employment for young EU citizens.


The Europe 2020 strategy puts forward three priorities for growth (smart, sustainable and inclusive), and five headline targets (employment, innovation, climate and energy, education and inclusion).

The Commission has promised and the European Council has called for concrete action in the form of seven flagship initiatives.

Flagship initiative Youth on the move

We are now taking a look at how the European Commission has sketched the flagship initiative Youth on the move, in its policy proposal:

Communication from the Commission: Europe 2020 - A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 final

The executive summary of the Europe 2020 strategy offers a brief description of what the flagship initiative is about (page 5):

– "Youth on the move" to enhance the performance of education systems and to facilitate the entry of young people to the labour market.

Education, mobility and employment

On page 13, the Commission outlines how the flagship initiative Youth on the move aims to improve education (employability), increase mobility in education and training, and facilitate job market entry for young people. Action is foreseen at EU level and at national level:

The aim is to enhance the performance and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education institutions and raise the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU, combining both excellence and equity, by promoting student mobility and trainees' mobility, and improve the employment situation of young people.

At EU level, the Commission will work:

– To integrate and enhance the EU's mobility, university and researchers' programmes (such as Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus and Marie Curie) and link them up with national programmes and resources;

– To step up the modernisation agenda of higher education (curricula, governance and financing) including by benchmarking university performance and educational outcomes in a global context;

– To explore ways of promoting entrepreneurship through mobility programmes for young professionals;

– To promote the recognition of non-formal and informal learning;

– To launch a Youth employment framework outlining policies aimed at reducing youth unemployment rates: this should promote, with Member States and social partners, young people's entry into the labour market through apprenticeships, stages or other work experience, including a scheme ("Your first EURES job") aimed at increasing job opportunities for young people by favouring mobility across the EU.

At national level, Member States will need:

– To ensure efficient investment in education and training systems at all levels (pre-school to tertiary);

– To improve educational outcomes, addressing each segment (pre-school, primary, secondary, vocational and tertiary) within an integrated approach, encompassing key competences and aiming at reducing early school leaving;

– To enhance the openness and relevance of education systems by building national qualification frameworks and better gearing learning outcomes towards labour market needs.

– To improve young people's entry into the labour market through integrated action covering i.a guidance, counselling and apprenticeships.

In the overview annex, the flagship initiative Youth on the move is placed under Smart growth and Education (page 32).

Headline target: Education

The European Council meeting 17 June 2010 finalised the headline targets (document EUCO 13/10). The adopted headline targets guide the preparation of the flagship initiatives (and the national reform programmes, NRPs). The approved education target of the Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth aims at (in Annex I, page 12 of the conclusions):

- improving education levels, in particular by aiming to reduce school drop-out rates to less than 10% and by increasing the share of 30-34 years old having completed tertiary or equivalent education to at least 40%; [The European Council emphasises the competence of Member States to define and implement quantitative targets in the field of education.]

Youth on the move: To be continued

I intend to look at the preparation and communication of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative Youth on the move in series of blog entries.

Ralf Grahn

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