The EU recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, ‘based on a digital, green and fair transition’ and taking into account demographic challenges, is among the priorities of the Slovenian EU Presidency in the second half of 2021.

According to the Presidency programme, strong emphasis will be placed on the debate about different aspects of digitalisation, including on improving digital skills.

Education for the future will also be a priority: ‘Based on the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will focus on new knowledge, competences and skills in a changing society and on innovative learning and study environments and the digital competences of educators, teachers and professionals in educational institutions.’

Slovenia is planning a high-level conference in October on the provision of quality work through changes in the balance between professional and family life, lifelong acquisition of skills and knowledge, and ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.

The Presidency will continue the discussion on strengthening social Europe, ‘focusing on the implementation of the commitments agreed at the social summit in May 2021 in Porto, including employment, social affairs and equal opportunities and implementation of plans for recovery and resilience in the social field.’

Another Presidency aim will be ‘to create integrated, high-quality and inclusive adult education systems for all, including older people, and especially for those most in need of access to learning, including distance learning and online learning.’

An important aspect in the reform of the Agenda for adult learning will be the achievement of sustainable goals: ‘We will stimulate discussions on education for sustainable development, micro-qualifications, individual learning accounts and access to vocational education and training and lifelong learning.’

A virtual conference on adult learning titled ‘A resilient response to future challenges’ will take place on 8 and 9 September, with Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel among the speakers.

The six-monthly meeting of the Directors General for Vocational Education and Training is scheduled for 4 and 5 October in Ljubljana.

Presenting the Presidency’s priorities at the European Parliament’s Employment Committee on 14 July, Slovenian Minister for Labour Janez Cingler Kralj spoke of the need to respond effectively to the green and digital transitions with quality jobs and to implement further the European pillar of social rights action plan.

‘Quality work can also be guaranteed if opportunities for continuous training and building skills are strengthened,’ he noted, adding that ‘a properly trained workforce and lifelong learning are components that, when we move from recovery and resilience to strategic autonomy and a strengthened European social model, will be of key importance for all EU.’