Key competences

The European Commission works with EU countries to strengthen 'key competences' knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship. The approach is to promote key competences by:

  • Providing high-quality education, training and lifelong learning for all
  • Supporting educational staff
  • Promoting a variety of learning approaches and contexts, in a lifelong learning perspective
  • Exploring approaches to assessment and validation of key competences


Through a process of recommendation proposals for the European Parliament and the Council, the Commission aims to contribute to the development of quality, future-oriented education and training tailored to the needs of European society.

In 2006 the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. It provided a common European reference framework on key competences for policymakers, education and training providers, the social partners and learners themselves. Furthermore, it hoped to support other related policies such as employment and social policies and other policies affecting youth.

In June 2016 the Commission launched the Review of the 2006 Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning with the aim to update the 2006 Recommendation and further support key competences development across Europe.

Based on the conclusions of the Review, the Commission adopted the proposal for a new Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong learning in January 2018. The Council Recommendation on Key Competneces for Lifelong Learning was adopted in May 2018: