reaffirm the role of local and regional authorities as potential partners for initiatives in the area of education policy because of proximity to citizens who see clearly a value added, in accordance with recent CoR work, to more EU involvement in this policy area, and because of local and regional best practices and experience which could provide useful elements of evidence for future policy design at the European and national levels;
- suggest a few amendments to the proposed Council recommendations highlighting the local and regional commitment and potential in this policy area in cooperation with the other levels of governance where appropriate;
- highlight the political and policy context for the current proposals which are bound to have impact at the local and regional level: within the framework of the nascent European Education Area, links between education and employment policies are essential from the point of view of local and regional socio-economic development which in turn relates to the Europe 2020 vision and illustrate the territorial potential of education policies for stimulating jobs and growth.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- Acknowledges the fact that primary responsibility for education policy lies with the Member States who have involved their regional and local authorities to different extents in accordance with their respective constitutional systems, and that EU action in line with Article 6 of the TFEU should only complement, support or coordinate the action of Member States; any EU action in this area must be fully justified from a subsidiarity and proportionality standpoint and should align with existing frameworks, tools and procedures;
- Believes that education policy strategies in Member States and regions should prioritise cooperation at all levels of governance, including local and regional authorities, with a view to aligning high quality learner-centred education, featuring strong teaching, innovation and digitalisation, with the needs of the dynamically evolving labour market, in the context of principle 1 of the European Pillar of Social Rights;
- Welcomes the proposal of the European Commission on promoting automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education diplomas and the outcomes of learning periods abroad, and invites the Commission to take into account in its future work the links with territorial development, notably where local and regional projects involve mobility of skilled workers and staff;
- Reiterates the Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning, and suggests that the EU and national decision-makers pay particular attention to the potential, in this context, of partnerships that could be developed between national, regional and local authorities, companies, employees and employee associations, as well as civil society players, to take such skills and qualifications into account;
- Requires that the EU institutions and Member States, with the support of local and regional authorities in consultation with stakeholders, implement the current proposals within the context of broader EU policies for economic development, employment and social protection by making strategic use of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework after 2020, where specific education policies should be more clearly and more ambitiously articulated, and emphasises the importance of upholding the proportionality principle to ensure that no new financial or administrative burdens are generated for Member States.