More than six million young people in the EU leave education and training with lower secondary level qualifications at best. They face severe difficulties in finding work, are more often unemployed and more often dependent on welfare benefits. Early school leaving hampers economic and social development and is a serious obstacle to the European Union's goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The Commission today approved an action plan that will help Member States to achieve the Europe 2020 headline target of reducing the EU average rate of early school leavers to under 10%, from the current level of 14.4%, by the end of the decade.
What is meant by 'early school leaving'?
The European Union defines early school leavers as people aged 18-24 who have only lower secondary education or less and are no longer in education or training.1
€40 million, to cover over 400 grants, will be offered to researchers starting their first full-time research job in a European research institute in 2011. The €100 000 'career integration' grants are funded through the EU's Marie Curie programme and aim to encourage European scientists to return to Europe, as well as to attract the best junior researchers of other nationalities to work at European universities, companies and other institutions.
Digital Agenda: "Comité des Sages" calls for a "New Renaissance" by bringing Europe's cultural heritage online
The report of the Comité des Sages (high-level reflection group) on Digitisation of Europe's cultural heritage was delivered today. The report urges EU Member States to step up their efforts to put online the collections held in all their libraries, archives and museums. It stresses the benefits of making Europe's culture and knowledge more easily accessible.
The European Commission has adopted new proposals aimed at strengthening the societal, economic and organisational dimensions of sport. Athletes, sport organisations and citizens are expected to benefit from the plans, which flow from the EU's new role under the Lisbon Treaty to support and coordinate sport policy in the Member States. Action is foreseen in areas where challenges cannot be sufficiently dealt with at national level alone.
Why EU proposals on sport?
The EU now has a mandate to support, coordinate and supplement sport policy initiatives by EU countries (see Article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty). The Commission's proposals - set out in its "Communication" - are in line with the EU's new responsibilities and follow a consultation with sport stakeholders in the first half of 2010. This process highlighted sport’s cross-cutting nature in terms of its links with existing EU policies in areas such as education, health, internal market and competition law.
Ms. Vassiliou and Wang Xiao, President of the All-China Youth Federation, open the EU-China Year of Youth in Brussels today and sign a joint declaration establishing a policy dialogue in youth affairs. The EU-China Year of Youth aims to strengthen and expand people-to-people contacts, intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation. It offers opportunities for young Europeans and Chinese to meet, exchange and learn from each other during 2011 and beyond.
The European Commission has launched a loan guarantee fund aimed at making it easier for film producers to gain access to bank financing. The MEDIA Production Guarantee Fund will be available to support film producers throughout Europe. The Fund will, for example, help to cover a proportion of a loan in the event of non-payment by a producer due to bankruptcy.