It should be considered a matter of course that not only Labour and Employment Ministers are involved in tackling the problems of youth unemployment, but also Education ministers. Their meeting today in Brussels will be totally devoted to the fight against youth unemployment. It is expected that the so-called conclusions on education investments will be adopted. The background being that the EU Commission decided at the end of last year to improve the education systems to increase the job opportunities for young people.
New 'Rethinking Education strategy'

In November 2012, the Commission launched its 'Rethinking Education strategy' with the objective to support Member States in their efforts to improve education systems and to provide young people with skills, which improve their job prospects. Apart from that, it shall be explained how investments in education could be used to ensure that they achieve optimum effect in times of financial austerity measures. The now planned conclusions of the Education Ministers are intended to provide an answer to the Commission strategy as to what investments in general and professional education could look like. According to well-informed sources, there is a clear indication that the conclusions and with that the investments, will refer to subjects like monitoring and strengthening the profile of vocational training jobs, to priority given to investments for general and professional education, to reducing the number of low-skilled adults and to the improved incorporation of social aspects and equal opportunities regarding access to good quality education.

Involvement of social partners important for Education Ministers

What is interesting is the fact that the social partners are to be given an important role, in particular for example with regard to the development of vocational training systems where a large part of learning takes place at the workplace or by reviewing the possibilities of introducing short degree courses to acquire post-secondary or tertiary qualifications in accordance with the European Qualification Framework (EQF). It is a welcome fact that the Education Ministers support the notion to explore, in cooperation with the social partners, at EU level, how adult training and development could be expanded and improved, so that employees can be retrained resp. their qualification be improved. One can only hope that fine words will be followed by action.