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The Ministers for the Environment of the European Union (EU) met on 16 December 2015 in Brussels for a Council meeting chaired by Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg's Minister for the Environment. The Ministers adopted conclusions on the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. During the press conference after the Council meeting, Carole Dieschbourg welcomed the response given by the Ministers for the Environment to the petition launched by 500 000 citizens 'for ambitious biodiversity policies and against the watering down of the EU directives on nature'. The Ministers also adopted a general approach for the directive on the reduction of national emissions of certain pollutants (NEC Directive) by a large majority. The Minister for the Environment declared that 'after difficult discussions, we achieved a balanced compromise, which is supported by many Member States and is still ambitious', noting 'a step in the right direction'.
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.
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