The European Commission is preparing a communication on the implementation of the Paris Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education. For this purpose, they organised a meeting with Civil Society representatives on 15 December in Brussels, which EFIL attended.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values on 19 January 2016. EFIL has been in close contact with the rapporteur, Julie Ward, to ensure that intercultural exchanges at a young age were included in the text. The CULT Committee of the European Parliament discussed the follow up of the Paris Declaration also at its last meeting on 17-18 February where there was the exchange of views with Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and concrete initiatives for implementation and a set of measures for the integration of refugees (including supporting validation systems and online language courses) were outlined.
Also the Council of EU Member states is focusing on this topic. At the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council of 24th February a resolution on promoting social convergence and inclusiveness in the EU through education was adopted. The text focuses on measures to ensure targeted investment in education and on how best to address skills gaps in order to restore jobs and promote sustainable economic growth in Europe. At the same time, it highlights the equally important role of education in promoting citizenship and social inclusion. Jet Bussemaker, Minister for education, culture and science of the Netherlands and president of the Council stated ‘”Education can build bridges between people with different backgrounds. Education fosters the personal development of young people and can help to develop a open mindset”. Ministers had also an exchange of views on promoting citizenship and fundamental values through education, in the follow-up to the Paris Declaration made almost a year ago at the informal meeting of Education ministers in Paris, in the wake of the “Charlie Hebdo” and Copenhagen attacks.
Finally, as part of the commemoration of the January 2015 attacks in Paris against freedom of speech and thus, against the core of European fundamental values, the LLLPLatform released its first Position Paper for 2016. To face the challenges ahead, the paper explores how education may be the mean to establish a holistic and sustainable society, using long-term and wholesome solutions. The Platform suggests that educational systems should carry all the attributes of an open and fair society: they should be active, inclusive and collaborative.
Inclusive and diverse societies is a topic of the upcoming meeting of the EU policy networks in the field of education that EFIL will attend in April and is the topic of the current cycle of the EU structured dialogue with young people.
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