Germany has been at the forefront of dual training, i.e. vocational training that includes both a theoretical, school-based component, and a period of practical work within a company. In light of the Education and Training 2020 Strategy, which focuses on job-related training, several countries had expressed a keen interest in developing dual forms of training in close cooperation with Germany.
On the invitation of German Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, in association with the European Commission, signed a memorandum of cooperation on vocational education and training in Europe on 11 December 2012. At the conclusion of the meeting, Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy General Director for Education and Training at the European Commission, said that this is the beginning of a European initiative which other Member States will soon join.