MEPs Tomáš Zdechovský and Thodoris Zagorakis visited Cedefop in Thessaloniki on 10 July and were briefed on the agency’s work by Director James Calleja, heads of department and other staff.

Mr Calleja welcomed the MEPs, from the Czech Republic and Greece respectively, and talked about the agency’s mission to support the European Commission, EU Member States and social partners in designing and implementing vocational education and training (VET) policies to link education and employment.

Having done work on skills himself, Mr Zdechovský expressed interest in the various aspects of Cedefop’s work. He said he was pleasantly surprised by what he saw, despite having done his homework by browsing through Cedefop’s ‘amazing’ website.

The Czech MEP’s visit was his 18th to an EU agency. He spoke about the agencies’ importance and how they ‘do not get the visibility they deserve, when they produce such significant work for under 1% of the EU’s total budget.’

Mr Zagorakis, who comes from Thessaloniki, said he was happy to be able to visit Cedefop for the first time. He spoke of the significance of its presence for the city and the whole of Greece.

Head of Department for Skills and Labour Market Pascaline Descy presented the department’s work with special focus on Skills Panorama. In his presentation, Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas talked about the European tools for VET, the European qualifications framework and national qualifications frameworks, and Europass. Expert Ernesto Villalba talked about work-based learning and apprenticeships, and Head of Communication Gerd-Oskar Bausewein gave an outline of the department’s projects. Head of Finance Michalis Christidis presented Cedefop’s budget and human resources, while Corinna Frey, who is responsible for stakeholder relations, gave an account of the agency’s long-standing cooperation with the European Parliament.

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