Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 12/10/2022

Celebrating 20 years of the European cooperation in vocational education and training

The meeting of the Directors-General on Vocational Education and Training (DGVT) brought together high-level representatives from 30 countries, together with the European cross-sectoral social partners to address VET policy priorities and mark the anniversary of the Copenhagen process.

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© European Commission

The meeting of high-level representatives took place on 10 and 11 October 2022 in Prague and was organised by the Czech Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission. This occasion also marked 20 years since the start of the Copenhagen process, the enhanced cooperation in the field of vocational education and training (VET) between Member States, candidate countries, EFTA/EEA countries and European social partners.

The meeting focused on concrete actions planned in the National Implementation Plans submitted for the 2020 Council Recommendation on VET for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience and the Osnabrück Declaration, endorsed in 2020 by Member States, candidate and EFTA /EEA countries and European Social Partners.

Country examples inspired possible solutions to common challenges, covering the green transition, engagement of stakeholders in reforms, flexible continuing VET, inclusion of vulnerable groups, digitalisation in VET and professional development of teachers and trainers.

The Czech Presidency presented their VET system for young people and adults as well as their innovative centre of Industry 4.0.

The European Commission reported on ongoing policy initiativesin particular the 2023 European Year of Skills, implementation of Council Recommendations on Micro-credentials and Individual Learning Accounts, Pact for Skills, Digital Skills certificate and Europass mobility, learning mobility framework, Erasmus+ and Centres of Vocational Excellence.


Since 2002, DGVT meetings contribute to the enhanced cooperation in the field of VET between Member States, candidate countries, EFTA/EEA countries and European social partners as part of the Copenhagen Process.

This is a voluntary process undertaken by countries with the aim to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of VET in Europe.

The Copenhagen declaration from 2002 focused mainly on the European dimension, transparency, recognition and quality assurance. The process further evolved through bi-annual Ministerial meetings in Maastricht (2004), Helsinki (2006), Bordeaux (2008) which have contributed to deepening of the cooperation with more concrete and focused priorities.

These first years of cooperation have developed very important European tools, notably by adoption of Europass Decision in 2004, the EQF recommendation in 2008 and EQAVET and ECVET recommendations in 2009.

In 2010, the Bruges Communiqué gave an additional boost to the cooperation process by defining an overall vision for VET in Europe for the decade complemented by a set of concrete actions and measures for both national and European level.

This was a start of a very focused and structured cooperation, with a number of important EU initiatives on key political priorities, such as the launch of European Alliance for Apprentices in 2013 or VET excellence (Rethinking Education package in 2012).

The mid-term review of the Bruges Communiqué was done with the 2015 Riga Conclusions which streamlined priorities on 5 mid-term deliverables on which countries focused until 2020.

In 2020, with the Council Recommendation on VET, the EU has consolidated the policy framework, integrated national level reforms, EQAVET, ECVET principles, EU level actions and governance.

Throughout the process, the expertise of Cedefop and the ETF has been key in monitoring progress and informing various review rounds.

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