EEA EFTA Forum adopts opinion on education

Published 15-11-2016
Jon Askeland, Radøy municipality, rapporteur for the EEA EFTA Forum's opinion on education (Photo credit: Radøy County)
On 14 November, the EEA EFTA Forum of Local and Regional Authorities met in Brussels to discuss ongoing developments in the European Economic Area, and adopted an opinion on education.
Under the chairmanship of Ms Hilde Onarheim from Norway, the Forum discussed the impact of EU agencies on local and regional democracy in the EEA EFTA States, Brexit and long-term trends for Europe. 
The Forum adopted an opinion on the recent proposal from the European Commission on A New Skills Agenda for Europe, which aims to improve the quality and relevance of skills formation, make skills and qualifications more visible and comparable, and improve skills information for better career choices.
The opinion stresses the need to improve levels of qualifications for all, including third-country nationals, asylum seekers and refugees, in order to bridge the gap between labour market needs and the population’s skills, and to enable active participation in the labour market. It states that improving the level of skills calls for active cooperation between social partners, education and training providers and local, regional and national authorities.
“I’m very satisfied that the EU and EEA EFTA states raise this issue, especially since education does not fall under common EU policy. [This] shows us once more the value of the “Open Method of Coordination” between European countries to discuss and improve common matters. Education, skills, and employment is fundamental to maintain peace in Europe,” said rapporteur for the EEA EFTA Forum, Mr Jon Askeland.
The EEA EFTA Forum is an informal body of elected representatives from local and regional authorities involved in EEA matters. It works closely with other EEA EFTA bodies and has established links with the Committee of the Regions of the European Union. The Forum has 12 members, six from Iceland and six from Norway. Switzerland participates as an observer.

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