Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council configuration (EYCS)
The policy areas covered by the EYCS Council are the responsibility of member states. The EU's role in areas of education, youth, culture and sport is therefore to provide a framework for cooperation between member states, for exchange of information and experience on areas of common interest.
How does the EYCS Council work?
The EYCS Council is composed of the ministers responsible for education, culture, youth, media,communication and sport from all EU member states. The precise composition of the Council depends on the items discussed in a particular meeting.
Council meetings are also attended by a representative from the European Commission - usually the Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth.
The EYCS Council meets three or four times a year; twice in its full configuration.
About education, youth, culture and sport policy
The Council mostly adopts incentive measures and recommendations. Nevertheless, the initiatives agreed by the Council, such as the Erasmus+ or Creative Europe programmes, can have a very direct impact on EU citizens. In some cases, where the treaties allow, the Council can also adopt legislative acts. For example, on audiovisual matters and the mutual recognition of diplomas.
The EYCS Council is also closely involved in monitoring the progress of the education and youth aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy, as well as in developing the cultural sector's contribution to a more innovative Europe, and helping to ensure that Europe's potential as a global centre for the production of creative digital content contributes fully to the Digital Agenda set out in Europe 2020.
The EU's actions in the areas of education, youth, culture and sport seek to preserve Europe's cultural heritage, support its cultural and creative industries, encourage mobility of students and teachers and promote physical activity and social inclusion through sport.
Priorities of the Estonian presidency
The Estonian presidency will focus on the changing role of learning and teaching, and the relationships between education and the labour market. The emphasis will be on the need to modernise education and schools in the context of lifelong learning.
The relationship between education and labour markets needs to be reinforced. Schools have to consider the needs and abilities of their students, and take into account the changes in the world of work brought about by new technologies.
Regarding the review of the Europass decision, the presidency will also aim to reach an agreement on the general approach at the level of the Council.
Regarding youth, the discussion on the next EU youth strategy will gain further momentum during the Estonian presidency. The presidency aims to create more opportunities for young people to have a say in these discussions.
The presidency also wants to highlight the role of voluntary activities to foster the development of skills, inclusiveness, and active participation in society. The presidency aims to take forward discussions on the European Solidarity Corps.
In the cultural sector , the renewal of the EU audiovisual media services directive is one the most important goals of the Estonian presidency. Estonia also plans to draft Council conclusions on access to culture in the digital age, with a focus on audience development.
In the field of sports, the presidency plans to adopt Council conclusions on the role of sports coaches in society and highlight their key contribution beyond sports and exercise.