The last decade with its financial and economic crisis has proven that the EU can only have a future in a globalized and digitized world when we invest into education and innovation. Europe has a lack of resources compared to other continents, what we have is in our people’s minds. That is why I strongly believe that the EU has the obligation to offer the next generations of Europeans at least the same but hopefully even better opportunities than their parents had.
Education is the key to prosperity of our Union and its individuals. Even more it is the embodiment of the liberal investmentpromise of having the opportunity to create the life one wants to live. We can only achieve this goal with increased cooperation on the European level and a joint common effort.
We shouldn’t get lost in purely national or regional perspectives but we need to live up to the promise the EU and its four freedoms are offering.
We can’t afford to lose a whole generation of young Europeans. The best education possibilities to enter the EU labour market must be available for every European, not only for those in economically strong countries but especially in countries that at the moment have to deal with a high youth unemployment rate and a lack of perspectives.
The EU members states should realize that in the long run they are not competing with each other for the best minds but with other superpowers outside the Union. Though the diversity of education systems in the EU is indeed a strength, the EU needs to harmonize the standards and develop the cooperation between EU countries.
The Bologna process has been a great achievement in harmonizing higher education to increase the acceptance of degrees in the whole EU. The process of harmonization and recognition needs as well to be done in the field of vocational education and training. The EU has taken some steps into the right direction with the Copenhagen Process, but yet many aspects of it have not been put into practice. A common European framework and tools must be created to increase the transparency and quality of competences and qualifications and facilitate mobility. People who opt for a more hands on education must have the same possibilities to live and work in every other EU member state as someone with a university degree.
Even more the EU should invest into the creativity and innovational potential of its youth. That’s why LYMEC calls to create a student entrepreneur status in the EU that allows high school and university students to work on a business idea while following their educational training. Such a status would give young entrepreneurs a solid legal ground to operate on and should go hand in hand with creating an infrastructure of a young entrepreneur incubator in universities in the member states.
Let us not forget that education is the foundation of a progressive society and that any investment into education is an investment into our shared future.
As a political youth organization LYMEC puts increased effort into working on youth relevant topics like education, training and labour market. We believe it is our duty to speak for our and for the next generations to come. Find here our resolution for the ALDE Party Congress on “Educating Europe” where we especially call for an increased harmonization of vocational education and training, a student entrepreneur status and in general closer cooperation of the EU member states in the field of education.
LYMEC Vice President