Human capital and skills development and recognition are among the priorities of the Slovak EU Presidency in the second half of 2016.

Slovakia took up the rotating EU Presidency on 1 July. Under the ‘union of opportunities for citizens’ heading of its priorities document, particular emphasis is placed on young people, who are ‘key for the future dynamism and prosperity of Europe,’ and the long-term unemployed.

The document also states that education and adequate links between the education system and the labour market contribute to a long-term drop in unemployment. It refers to the New skills agenda for Europe, which was launched in June by the European Commission, as aiming to ‘enhance links between the education sector and the needs of the labour market by fostering the development of skills, better transparency, support for vocational education and the modernisation of higher education.’

In that context, the Slovak Presidency will make an effort to secure agreement between the Member States ‘in the mutual recognition of qualifications as well as in the comprehensive documentation of knowledge, skills and competences.’

The Presidency programme states that with regard to the 'negotiations on a Council Recommendation on establishing a skills guarantee, the Slovak Presidency aims to increase the level of adult education, including digital, entrepreneurial and transversal skills.'

In the context of the revision of the Recommendation on the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning, the Presidency 'will focus on developing tools and services for skills and qualifications and on improving their comparability.' It will also address the modernisation of higher education and digital skills.