This is the formal meeting of Education Ministers from the 25 EU Member States and the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism and it takes place in Brussels during each Presidency to negotiate EU business in the education field. In addition to the 25 EU Member States, the accession countries of Romania and Bulgaria will participate in the meeting as observers.
The aim of the meeting is to progress ongoing EU negotiations as effectively and efficiently as possible, with the UKs role as Presidency being to seek compromises and move discussion forward. While the agenda for the meeting has not yet been finalised, the key expected areas of work in education during the UK Presidency are as follows:
- Negotiating the new EU lifelong learning programme designed to promote cooperation between educational establishments and promote country exchanges between lecturers, teachers and students (to replace current programmes such as Erasmus which expire at the end of 2006);
- Considering how improving the skills of the European workforce would contribute to increased productivity and agreeing concrete steps of intergovernmental cooperation to take forward work in this area;
- A report on education and trainings contribution to competitiveness and social inclusion under the Lisbon agenda;
- Improving quality assurance for Higher Education Institutions across Europe;
- Work on universities and the economy.