Select Committee on European Scrutiny First Report

Letter from the Minister for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone) to the Clerk of the Committee


I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the Education and Youth Council, held in Brussels on 28 May. I represented the UK at the Education session of the Council, accompanied by Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning (who attended both Education and Youth sessions). Paul Boateng represented the UK at the Youth session only. I understand that copies of relevant documents mentioned below were sent to you on 16 May, along with the annotated agenda for the Council.


The Council discussed the follow-up to the report on concrete future objectives of education and training systems (presented to the Stockholm European Council in March 2001) and agreed Conclusions which identified three priority areas for early work: basic skills; ICT; and mathematics, science and technology. There was support for a Commission proposal to establish three working groups to take forward work on these areas.

The Council adopted a Resolution on the role of education and training in employment related policies. The Resolution stresses the importance of education and training to the European Employment Strategy.

Political agreement was reached on the adoption of the draft Recommendation on mobility for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers. The recommendation will be adopted on the basis of the Council's common position, as amended by the European Parliament at second reading. As you are aware, all of the Parliament's amendments were minor.

The Council adopted a Resolution on eLearning, underlining the importance of ICT in education and training. In addition, the Commission presented its eLearning Action Plan which aims to set out the means by which the eLearning initiative might be implemented. The UK (Jane Davidson) welcomed the thrust of the Plan and stressed the role of ICT in promoting social inclusion.

The Council received information from the Presidency about the forthcoming conference of European Education Ministers, to be held in Riga on the theme eLearn for Life. The Commission reported on its plans for future co-operation with third countries in the field of education and training; it will be issuing a Communication on this subject in the future. The Commission also updated the Council on the progress of the European Year of Languages and on the development of a European Curriculum Vitae.


The Commission informed the Council about consultations which had taken place on the proposed White Paper for Youth Policy and asked for approval for a paper with substantial content. There was unanimous support for a White Paper and the need to promote policies for young people. The UK (Paul Boateng) agreed with this and commented on the need for cross-cutting measures when dealing with youth policy.

The Council adopted a Resolution on combating racism and xenophobia on the internet. The Resolution emphasises the role of schools and other educational institutions as well as Internet Service Providers and young people themselves in tackling racism and xenophobia on the Internet.

The Council adopted a Resolution on promoting the initiative, enterprise and creativity of young people. The Resolution requires Member States and the Commission to take action within their respective spheres of competence to promote these issues amongst young people.

I am copy this letter to the Clerk of the Lords Committee.

6 June 2001

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