HC Deb 10 June 2002 vol 386 cc1047-8W
Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the outcome of the EU Education and Youth Council held on 30 May. [59708]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

I attended the Education session of this council. Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning in the National Assembly for Wales, attended the Youth session.

The Council held a detailed discussion on the follow-up to the Barcelona European Council which took place in March 2002, focusing in particular on the areas of: vocational training; foreign languages and European citizenship; organisational measures; and quality assurance.

A draft Council Resolution on lifelong learning was agreed without debate and political agreement was reached on a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the council establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004. Ministers also gave political agreement to a proposal for a council decision amending Decision 1999/311/EC adopting the third phase of the trans-European co-operation scheme for higher education (Tempus III) (2000–06).

The council received information from the Commission on a proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the council amending Decision No. 253/2000/EC establishing the second phase of the Community action programme in the field of education "Socrates". A report on the outcome of the Summit of Heads of State or Government of the European Union and Latin America, held in Madrid on 17 and 18 May, was presented by the Presidency.

In the Youth session, the council agreed a draft Resolution on the framework of European co-operation in the youth field. This Resolution will take forward action to implement the proposals within the European Commission's White Paper "A New Impetus for European Youth". Discussion followed on youth participation in society, which is the priority theme of the White Paper. Ministers confirmed the importance of this theme.

The council received information from the Commission on the need to submit proposals in the next year for a new European Youth Programme to succeed the existing programme which is due to finish in 2006. The Presidency also presented a report on the actions it had taken since January 2002 to progress the youth agenda.

A copy of the council minutes will be placed in the Library in due course.