Court of Auditors : Special Report No 1/2006 on the contribution of the European Social Fund in combating early school leaving, together with the Commissions replies
Official Journal of the European Union, C 99 of 26.04.2006
In March 2000 the European Council agreed on a new objective for the European Union: to transform Europe into a competitive, dynamic and knowledge-based economy characterised by a greater degree of social inclusion. An important aspect of the social inclusion agenda was the recognition of the need to reduce the percentage of young people leaving school prematurely from the average rate of 19,3 %.
To this end it established a benchmark which required that "By 2010, all Member States should have at least halved the rate of early school leaving, in reference to the rate recorded in the year 2000, in order to achieve an EU average rate of 10 % or less". The audit examined the nature of actions co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), aimed at combating early school leaving (ESL), in six Member States (Spain, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom).