Croatian EU Presidency “Strengthening competitiveness and skills through lifelong learning”

Croatia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the ­first time during this six-month period (1st January 2020 – 30th June 2020). This Presidency follows the Trio of Presidencies started by Romania (1st January 2019 – 30th June 2019) and continued by Finland (1st July 2019 – 31st December 2019).  The joint programme for the entire 18 month period can be found here. The focus areas of the Trio Programme include common EU values, sustainable growth and strengthening external capabilities, safety and security.

The Croatian Presidency set up as one of its key topics the “new job markets, the importance of knowledge, education, innovation and lifelong learning” focusing on “strengthening competitiveness and skills through lifelong learning.” Even more, the Presidency will continue to work on the timely adoption of the new ERASMUS+ Programme. Based on Croatian national priorities, in line with the guidelines set by the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 and drawing on the Trio programme, Croatia will be working on these four priorities during the six months of their Presidency:

  • A Europe that develops “In the era of the digital revolution, the European Union, it’s economy and labour market face new global challenges and demographic changes. In such circumstances, further deepening of the single market, encouraging the digitalisation agenda, investment in research and innovation, greater accessibility of high-quality and lifelong learning and developing new skills adjusted to jobs of the future are guarantees for the Union’s competitiveness. “
  • A Europe that connects “The Croatian Presidency will encourage policies which strengthen the infrastructural connectivity of the Union and bring together its citizens, primarily through education, culture and sport”
  • A Europe that protects “The Croatian Presidency will focus on further establishing the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice, founded on common values, democracy and the rule of law”
  • An influential Europe “Member States can best overcome the challenges of the 21st century by facing them through the framework and strength of the European Union. Further development of capacities and instruments for common action is the only way to strengthen the Union’s leading role on a global scale. (…) and implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals remain the main points of reference for the Union’s external action”.

These four priorities are united in the motto ‘A Strong Europe in a World of Challenges’, which encapsulates the vision of a Europe acting for the bene­fit of its Member States and citizens.

Employment and Social Policy: Strengthening competitiveness and skills through lifelong learning

  • The Presidency will encourage discussion on employment-related development policies, ensuring high-quality and accessible jobs and social services, with the emphasis on regional balance.
  • A dynamic labour market requires the acquisition of new skills and competencies that in turn require lifelong learning and training to increase productivity, innovativeness and competitiveness
  • Croatia will organise a conference to encourage discussion on increasing access to lifelong learning and on developing and improving skills to increase the productivity of those who are employed and the employability of those who are unemployed. The Presidency will propose conclusions on the development of skills.

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport: Balanced mobility and a stronger connection between Union citizens

  • The Presidency will, therefore, pay particular attention to developing the knowledge, skills and competences needed for the future, and to promote more balanced mobility and ‘brain circulation’.
  • The Presidency will propose Council conclusions on European ‘teachers and trainers for the future’ and organise a conference dedicated to teachers as promoters of ‘new skills’ for the jobs of the future
  • Strengthening the mobility and positioning of the EU as an attractive place for study and scientific research will contribute to the creation of a European Education Area by 2025, notably the European Universities.
  • The Presidency will continue to work on the timely adoption of the new ERASMUS+ Programme


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