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On 16 December 2008, the European Commission presented its strategic vision for cooperation between the EU and its member states, in particular on the reform of their education and training systems. The Commission identified common challenges, such as skills deficits, ageing societies and foreign competition, which need to be tackled in a joint effort and by learning from each other. Among the immediate priorities for 2009-10 are student and learner mobility, reading literacy and the reduction of early school leavers. For the long-term challenges, e.g. for monitoring progress across Europe, the Commission suggested new education and training benchmarks.
EU education and training policy has been given added impetus since the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, the EU's overarching programme focusing on growth and jobs. It underlines that knowledge, and the innovation it sparks, are the EU's most valuable assets, particularly as global competition becomes more intense in all sectors.