In 2002, the Copenhagen Declaration adopted by the Ministers for vocational education and training of 31 European countries, stimulated the European dimension of vocational education and training by agreeing on objectives and priorities aimed to support European VET systems to become a world wide reference at the end of the decade. The subsequent Maastricht (2004) and Helsinki Communiqués (2006), steps towards Education and Training 2010 programme, are both cornerstones reinforcing principles on enhanced cooperation in VET.
The European institutions, Member States and the social partners are working more closely together than ever before on achieving the Lisbon objectives and the learning agenda is top priority for European stakeholders to face challenges of European labour markets in the 21st century. Indeed, the European social partners are foremost actors to enhance European cooperation in education and training.
These issues has been analysed across current Cedefop publication. The research work developed aimed at explore how the social partners on different levels are dealing with the priorities related to the Copenhagen process in education and training. The work was carried out evaluating 12 of the 27 Member States and 6 sectors by interviewing in depth almost 90 social partner’s informants across European, national and sectoral levels.
In addition, the outcomes confirm that social dialogue on education and training is playing a relevant role on development of VET policies at different levels. Nonetheless, social dialogue on VET and LLL issues is still a mechanism to be further explored and developed as a device to facilitate learning opportunities for European citizens. In the current challenging economic and social context for Europe, further research and debate on the issue should support social partners to face such challenges.