Making full use of the potential of the cultural sector, but also of education and training systems, to boost growth and jobs in the EU will be the main topics for debate at the next CoR commission for Education, Youth, Culture and Research (EDUC) to be held in Brussels on 25 February.
How can we ensure full use of the potential of the cultural and creative sectors to generate growth and employment in Europe? Further than that, how can culture more significantly contribute to creativity, social inclusion and better education? What role cities and regions have in this regards? These questions will be discussed by EDUC members on the basis of a draft opinion prepared by EDUC chair Anton Rombouts (NL/EPP), Mayor of the City of s-Hertogenbosch.
The draft opinion recalls that cities and regions not only provide most funding for culture in many EU countries, but that they also act as laboratories for cultural and creative experimentation and innovation. In order to address the current socio-economic challenges facing Europe, it also calls for a long-term vision strongly tied up to the cultural and creative sectors and urges that culture and creativity become better integrated in the Europe 2020 Strategy - particularly through the flagship initiatives Digital Agenda and Innovation Union.
The debate will benefit from the contribution of Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid (FR, EPP), rapporteur on the dossier for the European Parliament, who will present her views to the EDUC members.
Fiona O'Loughlin (IE/ALDE), Member of Kildare County Council and Mid-East Regional Authority, will also present her draft opinion on "Rethinking Education", which responds to the Commission's move to encourage modern and effective education and training systems in order to tackle the challenges posed by the global economy and the shift in skills demand. In its plea to promote a collaborative effort in the area, the draft opinion underlines the CoR's commitment to contribute to the alignment of vocational education and training policies with regional/local economic development strategies, namely for smart specialisation. It also highlights the benefits of creating strong local partnerships, notably by embedding different funding opportunities into a single local or regional strategy.
Innovation and the challenges posed by ICTs developments will also be among the issues to be discussed, with draft opinions to be presented on cloud computing (rapporteur Gábor Bihary (HU/PES)) and international cooperation in research and innovation (rapporteur Paolo Valentini Puccitelli (IT/EPP)).
In response to an Irish Presidency referral, the Committee of the Regions is drafting an opinion on "Closing the Innovation Divide". The rapporteur on the dossier Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), Member of Espoo City Council, will present his working document at the meeting.
The meeting will take place at CoR headquarters in Brussels on Monday 25 February, starting at 11.00.