Commissioner Vassiliou receives honorary doctorate in Romania, presents Youth on the Move to national parliament
Commissioner Vassiliou today received an honorary doctorate at the Dimitrie Cantemir University in Bucharest, Romania. During her visit to the capital, she also held talks with Prime Minister Emil Boc and other leading figures on the political and academic scene. Her discussions focused on the Commission's recently launched 'Youth on the Move' initiative, which aims to help young people to gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need to make their first job a reality.
Commissioner Vassiliou described the 'honoris causa' doctorate, given in recognition of the European Commission's support for the development of education in Europe, as a "moment of great satisfaction, both personal and professional, for a lifelong learner".
Youth on the Move was the main theme of the Commissioner's speech during the ceremony.
"To my mind, the greatest challenge is this: to ensure that we do our utmost, whether in our schools or our universities, to set every young person on a secure path for their life ahead [so that] they develop as fully-rounded individuals, with the skills and inner resources to play their part in society and to find fulfilment in their work and their personal lives," the Commissioner said.
She acknowledged that today's harsh economic climate has not made this task any easier for many young people, even those with a university education, who face an uphill struggle in finding work.
The aim of Youth on the Move is "to pull together education, training and employment policy to ensure that our young people actually acquire the skills and experience they need to succeed," she said.
The Commissioner emphasised the crucial role that universities have to play in helping students to develop the skills and competences required on the labour market, including specific subject knowledge, specialised technical skills and softer skills such as communicating with others, team-working and adapting to new working environments.
Mobility enhances skills
"Study and training abroad, and traineeships in enterprises, are fast-track ways of developing these skills. The evidence from the Erasmus programme shows that students come out with their confidence and their skills enhanced," she stated.
She cited the views of a recent Erasmus student: 'The months I spent on an Erasmus grant in another country were a truly liberating experience that really helped me reflect on the things I wanted in life... The only advice I can give is to grasp chances like this in life. Don't hesitate, just do it!'
The Commission is starting to plan for the next generation of European education and training programmes, post-2014, and the Commissioner said that it was important that all relevant stakeholders get involved in this process.
Following the ceremony, the Commissioner held talks on Youth on the Move with Prime Minister Boc and Daniel Funeriu, the Minister for Education, Research and Innovation. She also met the Permanent Bureau of the Senate and members of the Committees on Education from both the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.
Commissioner Vassiliou's websiteContacts: Dennis Abbott: +32.2.295.92.58, Dina Avraam: +32 (0)2.295.96.67