Towards a European Education Area by 2025
The European Education Area seeks to foster cooperation between European Union (EU) Member States to further enrich the quality and inclusiveness of national education and training systems.
Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to prevent structural barriers to learning and skills development from impacting citizens’ employment prospects and participation in society.
The European Education Area, therefore, ties in with Next Generation EU, the EU's COVID-19 recovery plan to lead the Union out of the crisis and towards a modern and more sustainable Europe fit to face the digital and green transitions.
It aims to develop a holistic approach to EU action in education and training to create a genuine European space of learning, which benefits all learners, teachers and institutions.
The idea to create a European Education Area was first endorsed by European leaders at the 2017 Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. The first packages of measures were adopted in 2018 and 2019.
In her Political Guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024, Commission President von der Leyen committed to making the European Education Area a reality by 2025.
A reinforced approach to achieving the EEA
A new Commission Communication on Achieving the European Education Area by 2025 was published on 30 September 2020.
The Communication presents an ambitious approach to making the EEA a reality by 2025. It details the means and milestones to achieve the EEA’s objectives together with EU Member States and education and training stakeholders.
The Commission’s vision for a European Education Area is guided by six dimensions:
- improve basic skills, including digital competences, and transversal skills, such as entrepreneurship, creativity and civic engagement
- facilitate mobility for learners and educators and international cooperation between education institutions
- foster language learning, multilingualism and support the discovery and management of cultural diversity
- enrich education with a European perspective encouraging understanding of and critical thinking about what Europe means in regard to citizens’ daily lives
- ensure that education and training institutions are safe, inclusive and disinformation-free
- decouple educational attainment and achievement from social, economic and cultural status promote social mobility
- foster inclusive education and gender equality across all levels and sectors of education and training
- improve gender sensitivity, for example by tackling sexist behaviour and sexual harrassment in education and training
- assure that vocational education and training (VET) is adapted to the green and digital transitions and that future-proof lifelong learning strategies are in place
- strengthen cross-border cooperation in youth work, sport and culture promoting non-formal learning
- strive towards gender balance in leadership positions, including in higher education institutions, and open up professions in which men and/or women are unequally represented
- challenge gender stereotypes concerning study choices and within education practices and materials
- mobilise expertise and resources to change behaviour regarding environmental sustainability by establishing an Education for Climate Coalition
- invest in green education and training infrastructure
- integrate environmental sustainability into natural and human sciences and encourage the exchange between their associated skills, methods, processes and cultures
- assure that individuals possess the skills needed to thrive in the green economy of the future, such as digital skills and entrepreneurship
- support Member States in addressing teacher shortages and boosting the diversification and attractiveness of teaching careers
- assure teachers and trainers have opportunities for continuous professional development
- improve the quality and quantity of teacher mobility periods in initial teacher training and beyond
- make international mobility an integral part of teacher education
- support closer and deeper cooperation between higher education institutions, in particular international higher education alliances
- engage in the full roll-out of the European Universities and European Student Card initiatives
- co-create, together with Member States and stakeholders, a transformation agenda for higher education institutions
- develop a European approach to micro-credentials to help widen learning opportunities and strengthen the role of higher education and vocational education and training institutions in lifelong learning
- promote focus on specialised education programmes on advanced digital skills related to cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and high-performance computing
- boost the EU’s efforts to address global challenges and promote European interests and values internationally, including the achievement of the 2020 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- further the internationalisation of European education at the primary, secondary and tertiary (higher) levels and in the fields of vocational education and youth work
- foster collaboration between education institutions internationally to help attract the best talent to Europe and promote peer learning and joint international research and innovation projects
- encourage reform in the education, training and research systems of the Western Balkans and European Neighbourhood countries
On 18 February 2021, the Council approved the Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030).
How is the Commission working to deliver a European Education Area?
The Communication on Achieving the European Education Area by 2025 sets out a series of means and milestones along the six dimensions.
For more information on these individual policies and initiatives that will support the implementation and further development of the European Education Area, consult the pages in the European Education Area and policies sections of this website.
The European Education Area will work in synergy with the European Skills Agenda, the renewed VET policy and the European Research Area to harness knowledge, making it the foundation of Europe’s recovery and prosperity.
To allow the European Education Area to become a reality by 2025 and to keep track of the progress achieved, the Commission proposes to establish an enabling framework for cooperation and engagement with Member States and other stakeholders.
The Commission will work closely with the Member States towards developing a fully-fledged governance framework for the European Education Area.
It will also establish a permanent European Education Area platform as a public gateway to its actions and services, which will ensure transparency and access to information on the European Education Area and the outputs of policy cooperation.