Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the EU

Ireland’s Education and training priorities for our EU Presidency

The provision of high quality education and training for all of Europe’s citizens is essential if Europe is to tackle its unemployment crisis, strengthen its economic growth and create sustainable jobs.

The Irish Presidency will therefore focus on how access to education and training can be expanded to Europe’s citizens and on ensuring its quality and relevance for European society and the 21st century labour market.

Ireland will seek to make progress on a number of issues which directly affect Europe’s citizens, including by working closely with the European Parliament and the European Commission. 

Education Council

The Minister for Education and Skills will chair the Education Council, which brings together Ministers from all the EU Member States.  In this role, Ireland will bring forward work on a number of issues related to Quality and Equity in European education and training systems.  This will include issues related to extending participation of Europe’s citizens in higher education and supporting the crucial profession of teacher educators.  

EU Programme in Education and Training

The EU’s programmes in education and training, including the current Lifelong Learning Programme, have provided opportunities to millions of European citizens to broaden their horizons and develop new skills by studying and working abroad.  A key priority for Ireland will be to make progress on the development of the new EU programme in education, training youth and sport which will take effect in 2014.   

Professional Qualifications Directive

Ireland will also be working to make progress on a new professional qualifications directive which builds on existing legislation to make it easier for European citizens to practise their profession, provide services and have their qualifications recognised in other European countries. 

European Social Fund

Since its inception in 1957, the European Social Fund has played a key role in reducing differences in prosperity and living standards across EU member states and regions.  Ireland will work to make progress on the new EU legislation which will underpin the next phase of this programme, and also on the European Globalisation Fund which has provided assistance to European citizens who have lost their job due to globalisation.

European Institute of Technology

The European Institute of Technology and Innovation was established in 2008 with the aim of increasing sustainable growth and competitiveness in Europe by reinforcing the EU’s innovation capacity.  The Irish Presidency will work to make progress on new legislation which will further strengthen the EIT’s contribution to a more innovative Europe.