Education is at the heart of the European way of life. The right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning is proclaimed in the European Pillar of Social Rights as its first principle. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the EU is resetting its growth strategy, based on sustainability, and the green and digital transitions as transformative drivers. But… How can educational institutions & governments act as levers for a change?

The European Education Area aims at structuring collaboration between Member States and stakeholders to build more resilient and inclusive national education systems. Nevertheless, unlike its direct predecessor (the Bologna Process), it is limited to European Union Member States and covers different levels and sectors of education to support lifelong learning. You can visit its official website here.

Its development & current state

In September 2020, the European Commission presented its vision for the creation of a European Education Area by 2025 and proposed concrete measures to achieve it on the basis of 6 dimensions: quality, inclusion and gender equality, green and digital transition, teachers, higher education & geopolitical dimension.

Some months later, in February 2021, the Council of the EU responded with a Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training for the period 2021-2030 providing the essential structure for collaboration between all the EU Member States and key stakeholders. Its key objectives are:

  • Supporting EU Member States in their reforms of education and training systems
  • Enhancing synergies with other policy areas such as research and innovation, social policy, employment or youth, and with EU funding instruments to better support national reforms.
  • Following a holistic approach is key in order to effectively implement the EEA: efforts to establish the European Education Area are working in synergy with the European Skills Agenda, the renewed Vocational Education and Training policy and the European Research Area.
  • Identifying targets and indicators to guide work and monitor progress: a reporting and analysis structure to encourage and track reforms.

All these measures are supported by the NextGenerationEU and the Erasmus+ Programme.

What are the targets to achieve the European Education Area?

Together with Member States, the European Commission wants to set two different targets to achieve the European Education Area.

By 2025:

  • 60% of vocational education and training students should take part in work-based learning
  • At least 47% of adults aged 25-64 should have participated in learning in the previous 12 months

By 2030:

  • The share of low-achieving 15 year-olds in mathematics, reading and science should be less than 15%
  • The share of low-achieving students in their eighth year of schooling in computer and information literacy should be less than 15%
  • 96 % of children aged between three and the compulsory school age should participate in early childhood education
  • The share of early school leavers should be less than 9%
  • The share of 25-34-year-olds with tertiary education attainment should be at least 45 %

Would you like to add your contributions to the European Education Area?

The first step to making your voice heard is registering on the Conference on the Future of Europe platform: Once you log in, it’s time to share your ideas on how to build a healthier Europe for everyone. You are entitled to 1500 characters to present your idea, and approve or comment on those of others, in any of the 24 EU official languages.

Presented in April 2021, the multilingual digital platform of the Conference is playing a key role, enabling all the EU citizens -but also public actors & all kinds of organisations from civil society- to provide their views & opinions on any relevant topic for the future of Europe.