A Communication approved by the Commission concludes that Member States must accelerate the pace of reform in their education and training systems, or large proportions of the next generation will face social exclusion.
In the Communication on "Modernising education and training: a vital contribution to prosperity and social cohesion in Europe", the Commission presents its contribution to the 2006 Joint Progress Report on the implementation of the "Education and Training 2010" work programme to be jointly agreed with the Council in February 2006. This Work Programme is the education and training strand of the Lisbon strategy and aims to modernise Europes education and training systems.

The Commission also adopted on 10th November 2005 a "Proposal for a Recommendation of the Council and the Parliament on Key Competences" which sets out what are considered to be the essential skills, knowledge and attitudes that every European should have to prosper in a knowledge-based society and economy. The eight key competences identified include: (1) Communication in the mother tongue; (2) Communication in foreign languages; (3) Basic competences in maths, science and technology; (4) Digital competence; (5) Learning to learn; (6) Interpersonal, intercultural and social competences, and civic competence; (7) Entrepreneurship; and (8) Cultural expression.

These are underpinned by basic skills, and include horizontal components such as critical thinking, creativity, the European dimension, and active citizenship. Taken together, they contribute to achieving personal fulfilment, active participation and improve a persons employability.