- The opinion welcomes the New Skills Agenda for Europe proposed by the Commission. It however states that there is a need to introduce more innovative solutions in the fields of education and skills development. Helping individuals to acquire a minimum set of skills is not enough, and it is crucial to ensure that the Skills Guarantee becomes a guaranteed pathway that enables and encourages people to advance further and reach the highest achievable level of skills.
- The EESC highlights that increasing labour market participation, meeting the needs of changing, uncertain and complex labour markets, as well as fighting poverty, inequalities and discrimination in the EU cannot be properly addressed without taking the related social and gender perspectives into account.
- The Committee asks the Commission to provide a broader view on the functioning of and mutual encounters between the overall education and training, labour and social systems and their individual measures, especially on issues related to higher levels of education, the role of lifelong learning, cross-border mobility, the entrepreneurial mind-set, creativity, innovation, social and intercultural skills.
- The Committee regrets the lack of specific action relating to non-formal and informal learning. It also thinks that entrepreneurship in its broader sense is not highlighted in the new Agenda as a life skill that benefits all individuals.
- The EESC cannot accept that there is no new financing envisaged to enforce the new Agenda and firmly believes that making the best use possible of existing funding programmes will not be enough to underpin the Agenda’s ambitions.
- The EESC presses for further solutions to increase the funding, such as public and private investment, required to ensure the swift provision of skills. Instruments used in some EU Member States, such as collective agreements on paid training leave, should also be examined.
- Finally, the Committee encourages further strengthening of the dialogue with social partners, other relevant civil society organisations, businesses and organisations which work directly with beneficiaries.
The EESC is consulted on the following European Commission documents
- Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions A new skills agenda for Europe Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness - COM (2016) 381 final
- Proposal for a Council Recommendation on establishing a Skills Guarantee - COM (2016) 382 final
- Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning and repealing the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning - COM (2016) 383 final
- Annexes to the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework
Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common framework for the provision of better services for skills and qualifications (Europass) and repealing Decision No 2241/2004/EC
Commission staff working document - Better EU tools and services for skills and qualifications (Europass) Accompanying the document Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common framework for the provision of better services for skills and qualifications (Europass) and repealing Decision No 2241/2004/EC