Magazine article European Social Policy

Poverty/education : Eesc Reasserts Support for Europe 2020

Magazine article European Social Policy

Poverty/education : Eesc Reasserts Support for Europe 2020

Article excerpt

With a biennial conference on the theme of Education to combat social exclusion', the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) as well as its prestigious guests present in Florence from 20 to 22 May, could not avoid the much talked-about strategy for growth and employment, Europe 2020', which had been somewhat laid aside of late. Generally speaking, they supported targets for education (reducing the number of school dropouts to 10% and increasing the number of graduates to 40%) and poverty (reducing the number of people living in relative poverty by 25%). They nevertheless added some provisions: with regard to education, they would like to add indicators measuring the benefits of education in the early years of life on reducing social exclusion in the later phases of existence while specifying that "diplomas alone are not sufficient: we must envisage qualifications which are adapted to the labour market". Regarding the poverty reduction target, currently still under discussion at the Council, participants let it be known that they believed it was important to "maintain ambitious, qualitative and quantitative targets for the reduction of extreme poverty, accompanied by a provision to monitor this phenomenon". "By monitoring, we mean publicly presenting the results achieved by each country," specified Stephane Buffetaut, one of the conference's three rapporteurs.

Parallel to the targets established by the Europe 2020' strategy, participants pleaded to expand the linguistic offering, further respect the rights of immigrant workers and the disabled and, lastly, avoid setting up provisions targeted solely at travelling people.

"WE NEED A COMMON TARGET"

Closing the session, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso committed to discussing the conclusions with his college, without, however, following up on the idea of EESC President Mario Sepi to draft a green paper on the subject. …

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