HC Deb 14 November 2000 vol 356 cc601-2W
Mr. Hood

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the outcome of the Education/Youth Council held in Luxembourg on 9 November; and if he will make a statement. [138396]

Mr. Wills

Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning and I represented the UK at the Council of EC Education/Youth Ministers in Brussels on 9 November. Education Ministers gave political approval to a common position on a recommendation on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and instructors. Political approval was also given to a Mixed Resolution containing a Mobility Action Plan. The Plan sets out a number of measures, which member states can select from according to national circumstances, to promote the mobility of teachers, academics, students and volunteers across Europe.

Ministers discussed a preliminary draft report on the future objectives of education systems. Council agreed that the report, which is to be presented by the Education Ministers to the Stockholm European Council in spring 2001, should aim to identify objectives and priorities common to education systems within member states and facilitate the sharing of information and exchange of good and best practice at a national level.

The Council adopted two opinions for the Employment and Social Policy Council on the Social Policy Agenda and draft employment guidelines.

Ministers received reports from the Commission and Presidency on: the conclusions of the Leiden seminar, organised by the Netherlands and French Presidency, on open methods of co-ordination and benchmarking of European education systems; follow up to the meeting of the EU and Latin American Ministers for Higher Education in Paris on 3 November; a memorandum on life-long learning; progress reached in the implementation of the European Year of Languages 2001; the renewal of the United States—Canada—EU co-operation agreements in the field of education and training and; the outcome of the Blois seminar entitled "Learn the history of Europe".

Youth Ministers held an open debate on the follow-up measures which should be taken following earlier consultations with young people in Europe. Council agreed the importance of involving young people at European level and the need to create regular opportunities for consulting with young people—including those not affiliated to recognised youth networks—at both national and European level. The debate was part of the Commission's consultation process linked to developing a White Paper on the future of youth policy.

Ministers received information from the Commission on the implementation of the Youth Programme and adopted a resolution on the social inclusion of young people.

The Presidency and the Commission raised the issue of the potential dangers facing young sportsmen and women through over-training, drug abuse and commercial exploitation. The Commission urged the Council to consider taking action to tackle this.

The Council heard a report from the German delegation on the need to tackle the problem of racism and xenophobia among young people.

A copy of the Council Minutes will be placed in the Library in due course.

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