Videoconference of EU Youth Ministers

Germany's Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Franziska Giffey, will chair the videoconference for EU youth ministers © BMAS / J. Oellermann

To start the virtual conference, the German Council Presidency presented the Council’s conclusions on “fostering democratic awareness and democratic engagement among young people in Europe.” These conclusions look at how best to promote democracy among young people. They also signal support for a democratic Europe and youth participation in it.

Following this the German Council Presidency informed EU youth ministers about conclusions on the European youth work agenda. This programme will be the cornerstone of a framework to strengthen youth working structures in Europe as well as improving networking between various actors in the sector.

The main point discussed during the meeting was that of youth mobility both during and after the pandemic. Ministers talked about the impact of the pandemic on international exchanges between young people, as well as how best to revive those exchanges and cross-border volunteering post-pandemic.

These topics and others related to them were also discussed during a virtual breakfast meeting with youth representatives. The virtual breakfast was organized by the German Council Presidency and took place alongside with the videoconference.

The German Council Presidency also informed EU ministers about the progress of negotiations between the Council of the EU and the European Parliament on the European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027. The latter is a programme that offers hundreds of thousands of young Europeans the opportunity to volunteer, work or intern anywhere in Europe.

Videoconference of EU Education Ministers

Germany’s Minister of Education Anja Karliczek will chair the meeting of EU education ministers © BMFSFJ

This virtual meeting between EU education ministers focused on the ideas, initiatives and measures being taken in order to establish a European Education Area by 2025. The goal of this concept is to strengthen cooperation between member states in the area of vocational training of all kinds, as well as in the development of a joint strategy to deal with the challenges presented by the digital era. Proposed initiatives include improving digital competencies, mobility learning, the mutual recognition of qualifications from school, high school and higher education, multilingualism and lifelong learning, as well as ensuring access to quality education regardless of social or economic factors

During the second half of the videoconference EU education ministers heard about progress of the latest edition of the Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus programme is one of the most important and simultaneously most successful European forward-looking initiatives. Since its inception in 1987, over 9 million people have taken part in this programme. Erasmus+ aims to promote learning mobility inside and beyond European borders, with the ultimate ambition being the promotion of a sense of European identity.

The Portuguese delegation, which will assume the Presidency of the Council of the EU next year, closed off this virtual meeting with a presentation of its planned policy priorities in the education sector.