EcoSoc, the European Economic and Social Committee organised a conference in Brussels last Tuesday on the topic of the economic crisis. For the first time, EAEA was invited to invited to a panel at an ecosoc event.
Europe is undergoing a far-reaching financial, economic and social
crisis, with thousands of companies going out of business, higher
unemployment, falling salaries, budget cuts in social security systems,
rising poverty and social exclusion. The difficult labour market
situation has had and is continuing to have detrimental effects on the
very fabric of society. Preserving the European Social Model requires
society as a whole to make a collective effort, demonstrating solidarity
with people excluded from the labour market but also with future
In times of crisis, it should be reiterated that education is a
fundamental human right and a public good, which should be guaranteed
for everyone under equal conditions. A well-educated young generation
able to make its own choices is a prerequisite for emerging successfully
from the crisis. Member States should therefore pay particular
attention to public investment in education and vocational training as
well as in research and innovation.
The Europe 2020 Strategy reinforces the idea that education in Europe
should be improved in order to boost productivity and combat
inequalities and poverty. Europe can only recover from the crisis if
people have the skills enabling them to contribute to "smart growth".
Education therefore has to be adapted to the economic and social
challenges of the future. It concerns all stages of life, from
pre-school to higher and adult education and different educational
settings - formal, non-formal and informal.
How can young people be better integrated into the labour market? How
can we meet the challenges of lifelong learning? How can the skills of
older workers be improved and their potential better harnessed?