04.07.2011 POLICY

EU and the proposed Budget for education

EU Budget: EUCIS-LLL welcomes the Commission´s proposal to raise the budget allocated to education, training and youth but uncertainties remain on the content of the future "Education programme"

Brussels, 4st July 2011 // On 29th June, the European Commission published its proposal on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) welcomes the proposal to raise the budget allocated to Education and Culture by 68% (from 9,1 billion EUR to 15,2 billion EUR) for the period 2014-2020. EUCIS-LLL feels this proposal matches the high objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. However, it is concerned about the decision to merge education, training and youth programmes into a so-called "Education Europe" programme.

EUCIS-LLL finds it difficult to assess the potential impact of such a proposal, as it is not yet clear what share of the funds will be allocated to which domain. EUCIS-LLL calls on the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council to agree on a well-balanced programme between the different sectors - vocational education and training, youth, higher education, popular education, adult education - that can have an impact in developing a life-long and life-wide vision of learning in the knowledge society. The name should be adapted to its 21st century reality: learning happens in all areas of life - at school, at work, within the family, on the Internet, etc. "Lifelong learning has been at the core of European cooperation in education and training for more than ten years and this denomination could be a step back in the conceptual approach to learning" stated Gina Ebner, EUCIS-LLL President.
While access to European funds could be simplified with a single programme - for instance with common application procedures that allow sufficient flexibility to adapt to the needs of the different sectors - the overall objective of the programme is unclear when we look at the denomination. In many countries the word "Education" refers to formal education whereas lifelong learning is the responsibility of a wider range of actors. "'Lifelong Learning Programme´ would have been much more appropriate as a name as it covers formal, non-formal and informal learning taking place across all ages and in all areas of life", concluded Mrs Gina Ebner.