A delegation from the Assembly of European Regions Committee 3 Presidium visited Brussels on 26 March for a series of meetings in order to raise awareness amongst European policy makers on the issue of education and youth policies. The delegation included Sonja A. STEEN (President of AER’s Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and International Cooperation), Karoly AMBRUS (Chairman of the Subcommittee on Education) and Aleks SEMERCIYAN (Vice President of the AER Youth Regional Network).
They were welcomed in the European Parliament by MEP Andrea BOCSKOR, Vice-President of the Committee on Culture and Education, and MEP Ilhan KYUCHYUK, Rapporteur the for opinion on the competitiveness of the labour market in the EU. At the end of the day, the delegation was greeted by EU Commissioner Tibor NAVRACSICS, in charge of Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, in order to strengthen the constructive dialogue between the regions and the EU.
These meetings were great opportunities to introduce AER and YRN, to present the current state of play of the respective achievements and to give an outlook on future activities and priorities.
All parties agreed that the only way to look ahead in Europe is to focus on education: new educational models need to be developed including the collaboration with various stakeholders in order to lower the percentage of school drop-out, or to improve vocational education. It was underlined that youth mobility programmes such as Eurodyssey need to be developed in order to allow all young people from all social and geographical backgrounds to go abroad to add a first international experience to their curriculum.
Another consensual topic is citizens’ and youth empowerment and participation in democratic life. Here again it was said that education is key to the success: introducing civic education at a very early stage and involving young people as full members in society can help creating a more equal and participative society.
If and only if the principle of subsidiarity and the place of regions is recognised and put into practice Europe will succeed in policies that are developed and designed for the wellbeing of its citizens.