In the recent “White Paper on the future of Europe” published by the European Commission, the drivers of change in the next decade are mapped out and five different scenarios for how Europe could evolve by 2025 are presented. The White Paper’s main focus is on answering the question “What future do we want for ourselves, for our children and for our Union?”

The White Paper is the European Commission’s contribution to a new chapter in the European project. In the paper the European Commission maps out both the challenges ahead and also the opportunities. In the 32 page paper published by the Commission the word “education” is stated only 1 time, this raises serious concerns.

This is just another example of how policy makers continuously overlook the importance of education when discussing plans for the future of Europe. Additionally, we are worried about the fact that the White Paper fails to mention young people and school students specifically, only touching lightly on the subject of youth unemployment. A recognition of the importance of school student participation and the specific concerns and issues of school students is lacking in the White Paper. Policy making for the future without paying attention to young people is very short-sighted.

In the European Commission most recent publication on education, “Improving and Modernising Education”, it is stated that Education is of strategic importance for our societies and economic development and that quality education for all is much more than an economic investment, it is a foundation for social cohesion and an open society. It also states that education can be one of the most effective ways to address socio-economic inequalities and promote social inclusion.

For a Europe of stability, solidarity and inclusion, education should be at the heart of this project, we therefore call on policy-makers across Europe to ensure that education is a central concern when looking into the future of the European Union. As education is one of the main pillars of society, without education there is no development, and without development there is no hope for a better future.

You can find the Commission’s press release and the full White Paper here