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Will the Council listen to civil society?


15 Nov 2012


Social Europe & Jobs

Prior to the November Council, the European Commission, with the support of EUCIS-LLL, organised the European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2012 to gather key messages from stakeholders, including civil society. Key recommendations were given by participants on how to improve future EU programmes. The credibility of this initiative will only be ensured if the key messages produced during the event are taken into account at the November Council and if further steps are initiated towards a genuine structured dialogue in the field of education and training.

In 2012, the DG EAC organised for the first time a European Forum on education, training and youth in order to ensure the broad consultation of stakeholders within the European Semester. In line with the former Stakeholders’ Forum on Education and Training organised jointly by EUCIS-LLL and the DG EAC, the Forum translates the European Commission’s will to better involve stakeholders in a constructive dialogue and to initiate a sustained cooperation with stakeholders. Around the five key topics of the conference, transversal as well as specificmessages were produced both during a stakeholder’s online consultation prior to the Forum and during this key event.

While Commissioner Vassiliou admitted that “lifelong learning was still far from being a reality”, participants underlined the need for a lifelong and life-wide approach to learning as well as the need for investment in education, training and youth, especially in times of economic downturn. Participants called on the Council to endorse the proposed increased budget for the future “Erasmus for All” as crucial for Europe’s recovery (i.e. EUCIS-LLL letter to EU institutions and policy briefing note “Investing in education and training for growth and jobs”).

Key answers were given to every of the five issues addressed. To tackle early-school leaving, a cross-sectorial cooperation to foster a learner-centred approach has been judged essential. In the debate on modernising higher education, quality through mobility and better teacher training has been central. Flexible and tailored work-based learning in VET and adult learning is a partial answer to better skills and jobs. Stakeholders also called to invest in non-formal and informal learning as via civil society organisations and to build more bridges between formal, non-formal and informal learning.

According to the 2012 Joint report, the Council and the Commission aim to make this Forum a key instrument of dialogue with stakeholders. As Commissionner Vassiliou pointed out the Forum is meant to be a “new platform for cooperation”. We therefore call on the European institutions to make sure the messages are taken on board in particular during the November Council. The attention given to them will send a positive sign to stakeholders’ that their voices count in the debates. Furthermore, we call for the implementation of a more structured dialogue in the field of education and training. Indeed, if the Forum opens the way for a regular consultation with stakeholders in the spirit of the Europe 2020 Strategy, a genuine dialogue requires political will and the definition of transparent cooperation guidelines and tools for consultation and cooperation, as EUCIS-LLL already formulated with concrete proposals.


Contact: Audrey Frith, Director, +32 2 234 61 38,

For further information on the Forum:

  • See our dedicated section on EUCIS-LLL website and the messages produced during the stakeholder’s online consultation
  • Watch the Forum again on the Commission’s webpage.

For further information about the references included in this text:

EUCIS-LLL letter to EU institutions: “investing in education and training for growth and jobs:

EUCIS-LLL’s Policy briefing note:

2012 Joint Report:

EUCIS-LLL’s proposal for a structured dialogue in education and training:

Note to the editor:

The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) gathers 31 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers.


European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN)
Project Financial Assistant
Environment Director
Youth for Exchange and Understanding International (YEU)
Project Assistant
European Cocoa Association
EU Food Safety & Quality Manager
The European Landowners Organization
Policy Officer