EU Ministers for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport (EYCS) met on 4 and 5 April 2022 in Luxembourg.
Education ministers took stock of the preparedness of EU education systems to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine. They adopted a recommendation for even more effective European higher education cooperation. Ministers also approved Council conclusions on a European strategy empowering higher education institutions for the future of Europe and Council conclusions on enhancing teachers’ and trainers’ mobility, in particular European mobility, during their initial and in-service training.
Ministers also discussed the mobility of young volunteers during a policy debate. They addressed the barriers that impede volunteering and the mobility of young volunteers, such as differences between the various national administrative and regulatory frameworks and a lack of recognition for the value of the experience that young volunteers gain and the skills they develop. Ministers also discussed possible measures to foster synergies between national/regional volunteering activities and European solidarity and mobility programmes for volunteers, as well as new EU measures to promote solidarity and mobility among young European volunteers.
In the current context of mass arrivals of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, ministers heard from Vadym Huttsait, the Ukrainian Minister for Youth and Sport. The Council also recognised that the actions of young volunteers at EU level have a role to play in promoting democratic values and peace, and should therefore be encouraged and facilitated. The Council also underlined the particular importance of these solidarity actions, which young Europeans are undertaking with conviction. The Council highlighted that volunteering enables young people to engage in a structured, concrete and effective way to provide assistance to refugees in need.
EU ministers also approved conclusions on fostering engagement among young people as actors of change in order to protect the environment which aim to create the right conditions for such engagement by better educating young people on environmental issues, providing them with spaces for expression and action, encouraging volunteering, and recognising this engagement in their school, university and professional paths.