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Youth demand education and poverty targets back in EU 2020 strategy

European youth and student organisations are concerned after poverty and education targets seem to have been dropped from the European Union’s discussion on the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy for sustainable growth and jobs’ and urge EU leaders to include these targets back when the European Council meets again to discuss the Strategy in June.

“We are worried to see important benchmarks for more quality education and the fight against poverty left out,” says Tine Radinja, President of the European Youth Forum. “Without concrete targets in these fields, a sustainable growth and jobs strategy is of little use to make Europe smarter and more inclusive.”
The European Commission initially proposed that ‘the share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a tertiary degree’. But before and during the EU Council of Ministers’ meeting on March 25 and 26, news came out (EurActiv) that several countries are opposing benchmarks on education and poverty. “We are demanding more Europe and more European consensus on ambitious goals. Otherwise, we will end up by having almost no reference to education and poverty targets in this Strategy,” added Mr Radinja.

The European Youth Forum and several of its members, namely the European Students’ Union (ESU), the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU), European Students’ Forum (AEGEE-Europe) and Erasmus Student Network (ESN), are worried about the lack of will of EU leaders to set common targets in the field of education and poverty.

The organisations’ leaders Tine Radinja (European Youth Forum), Ligia Deca (ESU), Jonathan Favereau (OBESSU), Agata Patecka (AEGEE) and Marketa Tokova (ESN) agree to send a common message to the EU: “The Lisbon Strategy clearly failed at making Europe the most dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010. If the follow-up strategy has nothing more than good wishes for better education and more social cohesion, Europe will not be much further in 2020 than we were when starting the Lisbon Strategy over 10 years ago.”


Press contacts:

Letizia Gambini,, +32 2 286 94 17 (European Youth Forum)

Olav Øye,, +32 495 10 18 79 (ESU)

Tajana Nikolic,, +32 2 256 74 27 (ESN)

Viviana Galli,, +32 2 647 23 90 (OBESSU)

Agnes Leyrer,, +32 487 10 71 95 (AEGEE-Europe)


See also:


About the organisations:

The European Youth Forum (YFJ) is an independent, democratic, youth-led platform made up of 99 National Youth Councils and international youth NGOs from across Europe, that works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. For more information, visit

The European Students’ Union (ESU) is an umbrella organisation of 45 National Unions of Students (NUS) from 37 countries. The aim of ESU is to represent and promote the educational, social, economic and cultural interests of students at the European level.

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a non-for-profit international student organisation, with 347 local sections in 33 countries supporting and developing student exchange. The mission of ESN is to represent international students, thus provide opportunities for cultural understanding and self-development under the principle of Students Helping Students.

The Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) is a platform for cooperation between the national school student unions active in general secondary and secondary vocational education in Europe. Founded in 1975 in Dublin, it brings together member and observer organisations from more than 20 European countries. All member-organisations are independent, national, representative and democratic school student organisations. More information on

AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes co-operation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young professionals from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 15.000 members, active in more than 230 university cities in 42 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe.


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