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The Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council met in Brussels on 22-23 May 2018. In the field of education, the Council adopted three main documents:
Most related to the field of higher education is the third document, which highlights the role of education and culture in bringing Europeans together and for the future of the EU. The conclusions invite member states to cooperate and to continue reflecting on a shared vision of an EEA, including its possible goals, objectives and scope, and its links with the post-2020 strategic framework for cooperation in education and training. Special emphasis is placed on: Erasmus +, digital skills and education, higher education, high quality and inclusive education, involvement of new stakeholders including disadvantaged groups, language learning and the recognition of qualifications.
Prominent in the conclusions is also the declared support for the European Universities initiative, described as ”bottom-up networks that are geographically and socially inclusive and work seamlessly across borders, and which could play a flagship role in the creation of a European Education Area as a whole”. The document also clarifies the wider aim of this initiative, namely “to empower new generations of European citizens and to strengthen the international competitiveness of higher education in Europe”. The Council further invites the European Commission to develop and establish the key objectives and concept of European Universities as well as support their development.
The Council adopted its conclusions on the same day that the European Commission adopted a new package of measures aiming to bolster the implementation of the EEA by 2025.