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On 3 December 2015, the Minister for National Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, participated in an interparliamentary meeting on education and youth at the European Parliament. In his capacity as current President of the Council of the European Union, he took part in the introductory panel meeting of the day, alongside Silvia Costa, President of the Culture Committee of the European Parliament, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner, and Alan Pall, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum.
The last meeting of the Luxembourg Presidency in the field of education was held in Luxembourg on 3 and 4 December 2015. This was also the seventh session of the Education Committee which is made up of government representatives from the 28 Member States who prepare for meetings of the Education Council and ensure the implementation of its decisions. The meeting in Luxembourg provided an opportunity to take stock of the achievements of the current trio of Presidencies for 2014-2015 and to highlight the issues to be addressed in the months to come, including the promotion of inclusive education and democratic culture.
Under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Ministry for National Education, Children and Youth organised a meeting of the Directors General responsible for school education in the EU Member States. The meeting took place in Luxembourg on 26 and 27 October 2015. The Minister, Claude Meisch, opened the meeting by emphasising that, considering the current situation faced by the European Union in terms of migration flows, the education systems must remain flexible enough to adapt accordingly.
On 22 October 2015, several European officials and key players in education and adult learning met in Luxembourg for a conference entitled 'Family Learning – Best Practices Across Europe'. Organised by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, this conference is part of the implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning and the Education and Training 2020 strategic framework. The participants discussed policies and 'best practices' of family learning activities in different EU Member States. The goal of family learning activities is to allow parents to accompany children and adolescents in their learning while reacquainting themselves with education and training. In his introductory speech, Luxembourg's Secretary of State for National Education, Children and Young People, Marc Hansen, stressed the crucial role of parents and family in the education and training of their children.
The European conference "Family Learning: Best Practices Across Europe" was held at the Tramschapp in Luxembourg on 22 and 23 October 2015, within the framework of the European Agenda for Adult Learning, under the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU. We have set out its conclusions here.
On 16 October 2015, 250 young Europeans met in Luxembourg where they had the opportunity to express their views and propose recommendations for inclusive education. The participants, aged between 14 and 25 years, with and without special educational needs, were invited to outline how their school takes care of them and to provide concrete examples about the way in which their teachers and classmates deal with their needs. The Luxembourg Minister for Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, opened the event organised by the Luxembourg Presidency in cooperation with the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. The recommendations formulated by the young people will be presented to the Ministers who will be meeting at the "Education, Youth, Culture and Sport" Council on 23 November 2015.
Following an 18-month work cycle and two European Youth Conferences held in Rome (October 2014) and in Riga (March 2015), youth representatives, together with representatives from European Union (EU) Member States meeting in Luxembourg from 22 to 24 September 2015 for the fourth cycle of Structured Dialogue, adopted 15 Joint Recommendations on “Youth Empowerment for political participation in the democratic life in Europe”. Luxembourg Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, gave the closing speech of this conference organised by the Luxembourg Presidency and called on young people to "stand up and express their views".
At the opening of the European Youth Conference held in Luxembourg from 22 to 24 September 2015, the Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, encouraged young Europeans to "participate more, be interested in their own future and in the development of society". The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, appealed for young people from all backgrounds to participate in democratic life.The conference held under the Luxembourg Presidency will close the current cycle of the structured dialogue which focuses on the political participation of young people and seeks to finalise the conclusions adopted at the previous conference held in Riga in March 2015. These recommendations will be submitted to Ministers for Youth at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council in November 2015.
The Minister for Sports, Romain Schneider, intervened on 14 September 2015 before the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) in Brussels to present the priorities of the Luxembourg Presidency in the field of sports. These include the promotion of physical and motor activities for young and very young children, the fight against manipulation of sports competitions, as well as the representation and coordination of the European Union within the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The Luxembourg Presidency organised a conference on Diversity and Multilingualism in Education and Early Childhood Care held on 10 and 11 September, 2015. Throughout the second day, there was a presentation of the results of several workshops, followed by a discussion with a panel of experts. Several topics were covered, such as the need to value and foster the mother tongue of children from migrant backgrounds, improving the working conditions of teachers, and even including parents more in their children's education.
The Luxembourg Presidency organised a conference on Diversity and Multilingualism in Early Childhood Education and Care held on 10 and 11 September 2015. During the opening speeches, the Minister of Education, Children and Youth, Claude Meisch, called for inequalities to be addressed and stressed the importance of including all children in quality education. The European Commissioner for Education, Tibor Navracsics, criticized the fact that the majority of Member States have reduced their education budgets. The Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Corinne Cahen, stressed the importance of promoting diversity in schools.
Within the framework of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Minister of Sport, Romain Schneider, attended the official launch of the first European Week of Sport on 7 September 2015 in Brussels. The European Week of Sport aims to raise awareness and make information available to European citizens about the general lack of physical activity and to encourage participation in physical activity and/or sport during this European Week of Sport.
On 3 and 4 September 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU organized a conference in Echternach, entitled "Culture and development: towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU's external relations". The aim of the conference, which brought together around forty European and international speakers, was to give an insight into the way in which culture and development interact, and also to raise questions about the coherence of cultural policies and cooperation in development.
“International conference “Culture and development: Towards a more strategic approach to cultural policies in the EU’s external relations” - Agenda