EU must support education mobility

20/02/2020

Maria João Rodrigues, Carina Ohlsson, Ylva Johansson, and Marije Laffeber

Pictured (L-R): Victor Negrescu MEP, Swedish Minister for Education and Research Anna Ekström, Maltese Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici, meeting chair and Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Dr Jernej Pikalo, Petra Kammerevert MEP and PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet.

Europe must invest in education and training in a way which supports European cohesion and convergence, this was the conclusion of a meeting of Socialists and Democrat Education Ministers in Brussels today.

Representatives from the PES political family met to discuss common positions ahead of today’s Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council (Education).

Dr Jernej Pikalo, meeting Chair and the Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, said:

"Progressives want to make sure no one and no member state is left behind. This means making sure education is a driving force for the development and cohesion of Europe.

"Freedom to move, live and learn across Europe is one of the EU’s greatest successes. It enriches individuals’ lives and strengthens our European identity. But there are challenges too.

"Learning mobility must not result in ‘brain drain’ which undermines cohesion. It is vital that all member states can benefit from the skills and experience gained by students and their diaspora. The EU must concentrate on instruments and investment that supports balanced learning and labour mobility, contributing to economic and societal development for all."

He added:

"The European Semester must not simply be a vehicle for cuts, it must be a positive force for Europe’s development. Social criteria should be included in the Semester, and education, training and lifelong learning must be key components in the discussion. This is how we ensure this, and the next, generation have the skills to succeed."

The PES has strongly supported efforts to promote education across the EU, particularly the strengthening of the Erasmus programme and its aim of stimulating European-wide learning.

Education ministers from the progressive political family met to relaunch the PES education ministerial network for the new institutional cycle. The meeting convened to discuss items which are on the EYCS (Education) Council.

They also discussed the presidency discussion paper Brain circulation – a driving force for the European Education Area. They agreed that while learning mobility has many benefits for the individual, it can also lead to the “brain drain” phenomenon which undermines the labour market and economic development of some countries.

Finally, ministers agreed to strengthen their cooperation and meet ahead of the next EYCS Council in May.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Dr Jernej Pikalo (Chair), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Slovenia
  • Owen Bonnici, Minister for Education and Employment, Malta
  • Anna Ekström, Minister for Education, Sweden
  • Petra Kammerevert, Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament
  • Victor Negrescu, Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES