Candidate for European Commission President
Lifelong learning is a crucial tool to allow Europeans to develop their full potential, and a crucial component of our society. It is important for personal development, but also for social and economic reasons. It is a key tool to bridge the gap between educational attainments and labour market demands. In our common PES manifesto, we define lifelong learning as a key policy in our fights towards a Social Europe.
If elected to the post of President of the European Commission, I will promote EU support to Member States in the effective and fair redistribution of wealth and opportunities. This is essential to support education, including adult education, as a crucial component of our societies.
We have to create a virtuous circle between social inclusion and lifelong learning. The two are closely linked, and we cannot leave it up to fate. We need to promote active and proactive policies that will put in place the incentives to kickstart this positive process. As mentioned above, it is about supporting the effective and fair redistribution opportunities. Lifelong learning can empower Europeans who are at risk of falling into poverty – and therefore also disadvantaged groups - to participate in society and find new employment opportunities. It is about, to borrow again from our PES manifesto, “fighting for a Europe that leaves no one behind”.
Non-formal adult education is an essential complement to formal education. A policy that deals only with one of those aspects is a policy that walks on one leg only. It is necessary to further support the acquisition and recognition of skills and competences based on non-formal learning.
Civil society is a key actor in European political life. It can play a major role in promoting adult education, notably non-formal education. The European Commission should use all the tools at its disposal to support such initiatives and to recognize and encourage involvement of civil society organizations in the design and implementation of life-long learning strategies.
I would support such a campaign, provided it contains the right elements. That is to say, provided that it is designed in an inclusive way, and in a way that is conducive to social progress and equality.
Photo: © European Union 2014 - European Parliament