05.04.2011
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ESU: “EU2020 will fail unless more efforts are made”

BRUSSELS – EU education ministers, meeting on 14 February in Brussels, have to increase pressure on their home governments to create more ambitious educations targets otherwise the education benchmarks of the Europe 2020 Strategy will not be met, according to the European Students’ Union (ESU).

Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU’s Chairperson: “Member states should stick to the targets they have set for themselves if they do not want the EU2020 Strategy to fail in the first year of its implementation already. The European Commission and the stakeholders should hold governments accountable to avert a failure.”

The currently submitted national targets are not sufficient to reach the overall EU 2020 target, according to the annual growth survey, the first progress report on the Europe 2020 Strategy, adopted by the Commission on 12 January. Most of the draft national reform programs from the member states also fail to indicate whether the measures described are launched or adjusted to the priorities of Europe 2020 which include two big education targets.
All EU countries have set national targets with the exception of the UK and the Netherlands but those targets are clearly insufficient. Bert Vandenkendelaere: “We urge all member states and in particular the UK and the Netherlands to step up a gear. Ambitious targets and actions that match those are needed to make a real difference and to make the EU 2020 Strategy work towards a better educated European Union.”

Most urgent measures
During the Education Youth and Sport Council, ministers will give their views on the ‘feasibility of achieving the Europe 20202 headlines for education’ and their opinion on the most urgent measures in the field of education that should be brought to the attention of the Spring European Council on 25 March.

The two education targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy say that by 2020 less than 10 percent of the population aged 18-24 should have left school early and that at least 40 percent of the EU’s young adults (30-34) should have completed tertiary or equivalent education. Vandenkendelaere: “We call upon the European Commission to be more active in helping the member states set the appropriate targets. Right now, changes in the national programs can still be made.”

ENDPublished 11 February 2011

For more information, please contact:
Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson: +32473669892/bert@esu-online.org
Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894/marianne@esu-online.org

Read ESU’s full reaction on the EU2020 Strategy from November 2010 here.

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