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Highlights of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, taking place on 22 November 2016 in Brussels.
Highlights from the with Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (Youth and Education), held on 21 November 2016 in Brussels.
New broadcasting rules aim to promote European films and audiovisual content.

21 November 2016

Youth

The Council adopted conclusions on promoting new approaches in youth work Youth work can help young people develop competences, skills and positive attitudes.

The conclusions highlight its importance for reaching beyond the formal structures to young people of different backgrounds, including marginalised and disadvantaged youth. They also call for the use of innovative tools in youth work practice, in the fields of education and training, sport and culture, social services, information and communication technologies.

Ministers also exchanged views on how to reconnect young people with the European project, as a follow-up to the debates at the Bratislava informal summit in September.

"Young people are important actors in today´s societies. We need to help keep their minds open, globally savvy and willing to volunteer for Europe. In return, we should provide them with promising prospects. Yet, as part of the general anti-establishment trend, young people feel increasingly disconnected and uncomfortable with the European Union project. Today, we have prepared key messages to relay to our European leaders, following the Bratislava summit of September 2016 in an effort to rebuild trust with the young generation."

Peter Plavčan, Slovak minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport

Education

The Council adopted a resolution on a New Skills Agenda, which highlights the main aspects that will guide Council work in this field, in response to the Commission's communication on the strategic importance of skills for sustaining jobs, growth and competitiveness.

It covers areas such as skills development, mutual recognition of qualifications, support for both vocational education and training and higher education, as well as ways of exploring the full potential of the digital economy, with the aim of  promoting 'lifelong investment in people'.

The Council also reached political agreement on a recommendation on New Opportunities for Adults, in the framework of the Commission's proposed Skills Guarantee. It aims to provide opportunities for low-skilled adults to acquire a set of skills, knowledge and competences relevant for the labour market and active participation in society.

The Council adopted conclusions on the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism, which are very timely in the context of the 1st anniversary of the Paris terrorist attacks.

They underline the need to undermine and challenge existing violent extremist ideologies and to counterbalance them with appealing non-violent alternatives and to support parents, siblings, peers youth workers and others in contact with young people who are at risk of violent radicalisation.

They also emphasise the need to involve and cooperate with service providers in the fight against illegal hate speech online, whilst fully respecting of freedom of expression, in view of the role of the social media as a prime vehicle for targeting, grooming and triggering potential radicals to commit violent acts.

"We have just commemorated the sad anniversary of Paris attacks where so many innocent lives were lost and families broken. Combating radicalisation and violent extremism remain high on our agenda. It is evident that every single level of governance has to be involved to counter them. Today the Council agreed to focus on preventive measures such as education, voluntary and cultural activities and youth work. They may be considered "soft“, but if taken up widely and vigorously, they can effectively protect our liberal societies".

Peter Plavčan, Slovak minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport

22 November 2016

Culture and audiovisual

The Council took note of a progress report on the proposal for a revised directive on audiovisual media services (AVMS). The proposal aims to align better the AVMS directive with the digital age, taking into account the speed of technological progress, the emergence of new business models and changing consumption patterns.

The major issues still under discussion in the Council are the extension of the directive's scope to video-sharing platforms and the extent of their regulation, quantitative rules on TV advertising, obligations for on-demand service providers to promote European works, alignment of rules between linear and on-demand services, country-of-origin principle, and the role of European body of national regulators (ERGA).

"The changes in the Audiovisual Media Services ecosystem required a revision of the AVMS directive so that it will be fit for the new digital age. One of its aims is to keep our European media industry successful. Europe must have a competitive single market for audiovisual content facilitating supply, meeting audience demand wherever that audience is and ensuring equal conditions for all providers. At the same time, we need to maintain our public policy objectives of protection of minors, promotion of European works and the fight against hate speech. Our Presidency has made considerable progress on the new proposal and we are proud to hand it over to the Maltese Presidency".

Marek Maďrič, Slovak minister for Culture and President of the Council

The Council adopted a general approach regarding the decision on a European Year of Cultural Heritage (2018). The general aim of this initiative is to raise awareness of the richness of European cultural heritage and the opportunities it can offer and to share the European values and ideals embedded in cultural heritage. At the same time, it seeks to draw attention to the challenges that cultural heritage is facing.

"European cultural heritage is the crown jewel that deserves to be seen and cherished around Europe. Therefore our presidency has made efforts to pave the way as quickly as possible for the European Year of Cultural Heritage to be held in 2018. We are pleased that today in the Council we have agreed on a general approach on this important decision that will put Cultural heritage once again into the spotlight. The unanimous support of member states clearly shows how timely this initiative is. We can now start negotiations with the European Parliament."

Marek Maďrič, Slovak  minister for Culture and President of the Council

The development of a strategic approach in international cultural relations has become for quite sometime now a priority for the Council. Ministers discussed how the EU and its member states can cooperate effectively to bring about a more strategic and global approach in this field.

Sports

The Council adopted conclusions on sports diplomacy, which refer to the use of sport as a means to influence diplomatic, intercultural, social, economic and political relations. This issue was also addressed in the meeting with sport representatives.

The conclusions invite member states to explore how the potential of sport can be better used at national level, in particular through education and the involvement of well-known athletes as messengers, to promote positive sporting and European values.