The general objective of the European Union is to increase citizens' - be it youth, university students', teachers' or artists' - mobility. The aim of the Lifelong learning Programme, as well as Youth and Culture Programmes is to support EU wide mobility. As these framework programmes will come under review within the next few years, I will be involved in this legislative work. These programmes are truly important tools for increasing mutual understanding and creating a real integrated Europe.
Youth and Education
One can not emphasize enough the importance of education in the labour market. In this respect, Europe has still much work ahead of it as some 80 million Europeans, in other words 1/3 of the workforce, are not yet skilled workers. At the same time, only 15% of all new jobs can be carried out with basic education. There is still work to be done in order to avoid especially young people's exclusion from the labour market.
In this changing and increasingly complex environment the importance of teaching and teaching and the education of future teachers have grown. I will do my utmost to promote quality of education across the EU as we can not afford to leave the potential that every child, adolescent or adult possesses unused.
Vocational education and training plays a very important role in this respect, since skills and knowledge obtained this way can be directly used in the workplace. The Copenhagen Process
aims to promote EU wide cooperation within vocational education and training and to combine the knowledge and skills acquired in different stages of life.
The Bologna Process
aims to create a single European Higher Education Area. The Erasmus exchange programme, a European success story, has also played an important role in this process. In 1987 the programme brought together 3,000 students, while in 2008 there were already160,000 participants. All in all, there have been more than 2 million Erasmus students.
To live is to learn new things and learning new things rewards you every day.
Culture and Multilingualism
In the European Union languages and cultures are mixed in a way that makes it a very unique whole. At the same time, this mix may cause challenges to day-to-day life which must then be dealt with care in order to prevent emergence of conflicts. With the financial help of EU's Culture and Youth programmes many projects, be it academic research or smaller grass-root projects, have been carried out. All this is valuable work to promote the peaceful coexistence of cultures.
The EU has set an ambitious goal that all EU citizens would be able to speak two foreign languages besides their mother tongue. There is still some work to be done in order to attain the objective but the work has begun. We need to raise our children and young people to be true Europeans without forgetting own roots. This is a truly lifelong project. We need to leave to future generations a Europe where different peoples, cultures and religions leave peacefully with each other.