On 9 and 10 October 2014, the European Commission organised in Brussels the annual European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014. Focused on the future priorities of the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework (ET2020) for cooperation in education and training and synergies with youth policies, the Forum gathered more than 400 participants representing civil society, institutions and national authorities. Opening speeches were given by Ms Androulla Vassiliou, outgoing European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Ms Silvia Costa, Chair of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament, and Mr Xavier Prats Monne, Director General for Education and Culture at the European Commission.During her last speech as European Commissioner, Ms Vassiliou stressed the developments in cooperation with civil society that visibly increased in the past years. One of the best examples is this Forum, which develops a dialogue between stakeholders, civil society and European Institutions, resulting in a better cooperation and stronger results. Just as the other speakers, Ms Vassiliou stressed the employability question which is nowadays mentioned very often in links with employment, and reflected in the new structure of the European Commission, dividing skills and competences from the education portfolio, and placing it under the competencies of the DG for Employment.

One of the focuses of the Forum was the review of ET2020. Published in 2009, this document serves as the strategic framework for the developments in the education and training agenda in the period between 2010 and 2020. Earlier this year, the European Commission has sent a call for consultation on the review of ET2020 in which ESN took part. Participants of the Forum were presented with the outcomes of the review based on the stakeholders’ survey. The survey showed the highest positive impact in the areas of lifelong learning, quality and efficiency in education and training, and mobility. At the same time, areas such as governance and funding or equity, social cohesion and active citizenship show more space for improvements. Based on the outcomes of the survey, discussions from the Forum, as well as on the other inputs received, the Commission will publish a reviewed version with adjusted benchmarks for the following 5 years.

Workshops at the Forum were following the priorities of the ET2020 Framework. Erasmus Student Network followed the topic of low-skills trap and equity, social cohesion and active citizenship as well as recognition of skills. Here, we discussed recommendations that should feed into the review of ET2020.  We hope to see some of the proposals having an effect on the linked European policies and activities in the upcoming years.

Find the forum report here.