Fostering mentoring and creating a European Mentoring Label, stopping gender-based violence, promoting children's rights and developing a European sports model were among the key topics discussed at the meeting of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) on June 21.
This year 2023 marks the European Year of Skills, a year to boost lifelong learning, empowering people and companies to contribute to the green and digital transitions, while supporting innovation and competitiveness. SEDEC commission members highlighted the importance of mentoring for acquiring skills. “Socio-economic inequalities persist and have a negative impact on economic growth, social cohesion and political stability. Despite its potential to address these, mentoring remains fragmented, with significant disparities between states and regions. Thus, we need a common understanding of what mentoring is. We need common standards, labels and financing that will give a boost to a European framework, as what you don't know can't be measured and therefore can't have the necessary financial support", as stated by Anne Rudisuhli (FR/Renew Europe), Member of the Bouches-du-Rhône Departmental Council and rapporteur of the opinion on 'Mentoring: a powerful and meaningful tool for the Europe of tomorrow', adopted at the meeting.
Donatella Porzi (IT/Renew Europe), regional councillor in the Umbria Region and rapporteur of the opinion on Stopping gender-based violence – cities and regions leading the way highlighted how “social change brought by education and awareness raising, concrete measures to make public spaces safer spaces and better data that measure the status quo as well as the progress across Europe, are required to improve the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to gender-based violence", and emphasized how her opinion “aims to contribute , by focusing on prevention measures and support to victims, complementing the European Commission Proposal for a Directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence".
SEDEC members echoed positively how sports have been slowly undergoing social changes by promoting physical and mental health and acting as a vehicle for inclusion, helping younger generations see no difference in gender, race, religion, or any other aspect limiting these social activities. Roberto Pella (IT/EPP), Mayor of the Municipality of Valdengo and rapporteur for the opinion on 'Building a values-based, bottom-up European sports model: a vehicle for encouraging inclusion and social wellbeing among young Europeans', emphasised how “sport must be recognised as an instrument to strengthen local communities, in which the social and economic (including employment) factors are not disjointed or considered secondary factors but characteristic elements of a new European sports model. Sport is a social backbone for our communities. It is from the EU and its territories that a new European sports model that can promote inclusion and active participation must be born".
The SEDEC members also participated in a debate on the importance of youth participation and on the legacy of the European Year of Youth 2022, with María Rodríguez Alcázar, President of the European Youth Forum, who underlined: “on the face of the upcoming European Parliament elections, we count on your support, decision makers at the local and regional level, to be the champions for youth participation and commit to implement the Charter for Youth and Democracy in all the corners of Europe, recommendation by recommendation". Other speakers included Aissatou Cissé, Alderwoman in Borgerhout, Antwerp Region, also participant in the CoR Young Elected Politicians programme.
Introducing the debate, Tanya Hristova (BG/EPP), Chair of the SEDEC Commission, stressed: “We need to create a more youth-friendly democratic space and ensure that the voices of young people are formally and continuously represented at all levels of government. In this context, I would like to highlight one of the proposals from the Charter for Youth and Democracy, also included in the Conclusions of the Future of Europe -process, notably that of setting up local and regional youth councils and enhancing engagement with such councils at national, regional and local youth level."
The meeting draw to its close with a discussion on the rights of the child, with CoR Member Enzo Lattuca (IT/PES) highlighting the importance of Child Guarantee implementation and National Action Plans, and including a presentation by CoR Member Mikko Aaltonen (FI/PES) on the good practice in Tampere, Finland, on organising the CoR initiative of 'Summer Camps for Ukrainian children'.
Finally, a presentation of InvestEU by a representative of the EC DG employment showcased funding opportunities in the field of social infrastructure.
To rewatch the SEDEC commission meeting, click here.