Reinvigorate education and training to build successful recovery, PES ministers say

19/02/2021

PES education ministers

PES education ministers meeting by videoconference

PES education ministers have called for the prioritisation of education and training – focusing on equity of access, inclusion and success for all - as Europe recovers from the coronavirus crisis.

Socialist and democratic ministers held a videoconference this morning to discuss education and training and the strategic framework for European cooperation.

At the meeting, the ministers exchanged with European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, on the role of the European Pillar of Social Rights in supporting education. The Commissioner will present the Action Plan for the implementation of the Pillar next month.

Meeting Chair and Swedish Minister for Education, Anna Ekström, said:

“Education, training and life-long learning is the very first of the Social Pillar’s 20 principles. This is not an accident. Education is the foundation of Social Europe: it supports people to achieve their full potential, it equips them with the skills they need for the workplace, and it reinforces the social values which are central to our societies.

“That is why education and training will be a vital tool as we build a recovery from the coronavirus crisis. This is especially important for the many children and young people who have missed out on their education and the teachers and other educational staff who have worked so hard to adapt to the new circumstances. As we transition towards different forms of work in new, future-oriented sectors, adult education must also be part of the recovery.

“We socialists and democrats want to see education based on equality, inclusion and success for all. Achieving this will require cooperation and a strategic European approach.  We are strongly looking forward to the publication of the Action Plan by Nicolas Schmit and the Porto Summit being planned by the Portuguese Presidency. These are opportunities to reinvigorate education and training and build a successful recovery.”

The European Pillar of Social Rights – proclaimed at the Social Summit in Gothenburg in 2017, hosted by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven - was created at the initiative of the socialist and democrats following hard campaigning over many years. A plan to fully implement the Pillar was a key demand of the PES at the beginning of this legislative cycle.

Commissioner Nicolas Schmit will publish the European Commission’s Social Pillar Action Plan in the coming weeks. This will then be taken forward at the Social Summit in Porto on 7 May 2021.

The meeting also discussed the Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030)

The meeting was attended by:

  • Anna Ekström, Chair, Minister for Education, Sweden
  • Justyne Caruana, Minister for Education, Malta
  • Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education, Portugal
  • Isabel Celaá, Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Spain
  • Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Victor Negrescu, Vice-President of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education, S&D Group
  • Petra Kammerevert, S&D coordinator for the Committee on Culture and Education, S&D Group
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES