The portal for lifelong-learning

Key steps in community intervention

Europe's impetus for the knowledge society

Under the Portuguese presidency, the European Council met in Lisbon in march 2000 and set the strategic goal for 2010 to "become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".

It is an ambitious programme which aims to respond to the economic changes brought by globalisation. The European Union (EU) countries are committed to implementing the necessary policies and reforms to make Europe a competitive and dynamic economy based on growth and employment, in a perspective of sustainable development.

In addition to the changes to be applied in terms of the European economy and the modernisation of the social security system, Heads of State and of European governments are highlighting the need to modernise education and training systems in Europe.

In March 2010, the European Commission presented its new ten-year strategy aiming to revive the European economy known as Europe 2020.

Lisbon, the "Education and Training" component

For the EU to be more successful than its competitors in the knowledge economy, it is essential to invest further and more effectively in human capital. As education and training policies are at the heart of knowledge creation and transfer, they represent a determining factor of each society's potential.

In 2001, European education ministers agreed on three fundamental goals:

  • Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training systems in the EU,
  • Ensure that they are accessible to everyone,
  • Open education and training up to the outside world.

In other words, the purpose is to create an efficient lifelong learning system which is accessible to all European nationals (students, employees, unemployed people etc.) within the EU and which provides solutions for the realities of the labour market.

In order to meet this objective, specific goals have been set for all levels and types of education and training (formal, non-formal, informal), such as: the development of flexible systems to make learning accessible to all, lifelong guidance, EU mobility and even the integration of information and communication technology.

Cooperation between the Member States is recommended in order to facilitate and support the transposition and meeting of these goals at a national level. Groups of experts from the world of education and training or from international or European organisations are tasked with assisting the Member States through exchanges of expertise between countries, including exchange of good practice, study visits etc.

All of these actions combined with other education and training measures already implemented at a European level, such as those stemming from the Copenhagen or Bologna Processes, form the Education and Training Programme 2010

Bruges Communiqué (2010)

At a meeting in Bruges on 7 December 2010, the European vocational education and training ministers, the social partners and the European Commission assessed the implementation of the Copenhagen Process and, in the context of European cooperation, defined the strategic goals in the field of education and training for the coming decade (2011-2020).

  1. A new impetus for vocational education and training or VET (enseignement et la formation professionnelles - EFP) in Europe

    • Improve the ability of vocational education and training - VET (enseignement et la formation professionnelles - EFP) to respond to the changing demands of the labour market.
    • Guarantee quality and internationalise VET to remain competitive on the world market.
    Major areas of progress from the Copenhagen Process:
    • Preparation of instruments, guidelines and shared principles on a European scale to increase the transparency, comparability and transferability of qualifications, and to improve the flexibility and quality of learning.
  2. A global concept of VET in 2020

    Between now and 2020, European VET systems should be made more attractive, more in line with the labour market, more innovative, accessible, flexible and more focused on career than was the case in 2010, and they should contribute to the strengthening of excellence and fairness in lifelong learning.

  3. Strategic goals for the 2011-2020 period, and short-term goals for the 21011-2014 period

    • Improve the quality and efficiency of VET, and increase its attractiveness and suitability for the labour market,
    • Ensure that lifelong learning and mobility become a reality,
    • Encourage creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship,
    • Promote fairness, social cohesion and active citizenship.

Bordeaux Communiqué (2008)

"In the era of globalisation, it is crucial for Europe to invest more and more efficiently in human capital and in lifelong creativity" (European Council of 13 and 14 March 2008).

On 26 November 2008, the European vocational education and training ministers, the social partners and the European Commission met in Bordeaux to review the priorities and strategies of the Copenhagen Process.

The conclusion reached was to "Stay on course and provide a new impetus".

Four themes for action have been set out for the future:

  • Implement the tools and measures for cooperation in the area of vocational education and training, at a national and European level;
  • Strengthen the quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training systems;
  • Strengthen the links between vocational education and training (VET) and the labour market;
  • Strengthen the procedures for European cooperation.

Lisbon mid-term: relaunching the process (2005)

In 2005, a mid-term assessment showed that the results are not in line with expectations, leading to a review of the Lisbon Strategy, which became the "Strategy for growth and employment", clearly marking out the European Union's two flagship goals.

From this point onward, the major European orientations known as integrated guidelines (lignes directrices intégrées - LDI) were defined together by the Member States at the proposal of the Commission.

Based on these guidelines and according to its own socio-economic situation, each Member State sets out its priorities for growth and employment recorded in a document called the national reform programme or NRP (programme national de réforme - PNR). It then produces an annual report on the progress of its NRP.

The European Commission coordinates the preparation and delivery of the NRPs in order to ensure that the Lisbon Strategy is implemented in a coherent and integrated manner.

Luxembourg's response

National Plan for Innovation and Full Employment (Plan National pour l’Innovation et le Plein Emploi - 2005-2008)

The European Council of June 2005 approved the integrated guidelines (lignes directrices intégrées - LDI) for the 2005-2008 period. In Autumn 2005, Luxembourg issued its NRP for the 2005-2008 period, a document entitled National Plan for Innovation and Full Employment (Plan National pour l’Innovation et le Plein Emploi). The first implementation report on this plan was sent to the European Commission at the end of October 2006.

One of the Government's priorities was to build an efficient lifelong learning system with the aim of increasing professional mobility through a certain amount of flexibility of manpower, in order to respond to and anticipate economic changes.

Several areas of work were recommended, including:

  • Putting in place a national information and guidance strategywith the aim of providing better guidance to the public (students, jobseekers/unemployed people) on openings in the labour market,

  • Instilling a concept of Validation of non-formal and informal learning (Validation des acquis de l’expérience - VAE) which takes into account all forms of formal, non-formal and informal learning;

  • Introducing European references and instruments at a national level(national reference point, Europass, ECVET vocational training credits, creation of a national certification framework),

  • Adapting education and training systems to new skill needs. This involves moving from teaching based mainly on knowledge to teaching which is based on the principle ofan approach based on skills as well as on a modular education structure,

  • Developing skills linked to information and communication technology,

  • Creating the role of an adult trainer and preparing appropriate teaching and evaluation methods,

  • Promoting individual access to lifelong learning in various forms not including training leave (for example financial incentives, awareness campaigns etc.);

  • Optimising and regulating access to initial vocational training by adapting supply to demand, improving the image of vocational training and promoting excellence in learning,

  • Supporting and broadening the opportunities for non-formal learning the development of voluntary service, encouraging young people to take on holiday jobs, and by facilitating the dissemination and actual use of information and telecommunication technology.

Lifelong Learning Programme (Programme d’éducation et de formation
tout au long de la vie - 2007-2013)

The goal of this action programme is to develop and strengthen exchanges, cooperation and mobility to make education and training systems a global reference for quality, in line with the Lisbon Strategy.

It replaces the Socrates, Leonardo and eLearning programmes and comprises the following elements:

Four sectoral programmes
  • Comenius, responding to the educational and learning needs of all preschool and school pupils up to the second stage of secondary education, together with the relevant organisations and institutions,

  • Leonardo da Vinci, focusing mainly on the educational and learning needs of all people involved in vocational education and training,

  • Erasmus, responding to the educational and learning needs of all those involved in higher education, including student placements in companies, together with the relevant organisations and institutions,

  • Grundtvig, which covers all adult training levels and sectors and all forms of learning (formal, non-formal and informal). It also covers all adult training requirements and gives specific attention to those with the greatest need.


    National Agency for the European Lifelong Learning Programme (Agence nationale pour le programme européen d'éducation et de formation tout au long de la vie - ANEFORE)
    58, bld Grande-Duchesse Charlotte (5ème étage)
    L-1330 Luxembourg
    Tél. +352 247 85284

A cross-disciplinary programme based around four key activities
  • The development of education and training policies,
  • Language teaching and learning,
  • Information and communication technology,
  • The dissemination and use of the results of actions and projects funded by the European Union.
The Jean Monnet programme

The purpose of the programme is to strengthen the European identity and to increase awareness of the European integration project. It aims to stimulate teaching, reflection and debate on the integration process in higher education institutes all over the world.

Helsinki Communiqué (2006)

The priorities of the Copenhagen process were first set out by the Copenhagen Declaration in November 2002. They were then clarified and extended in the Maastricht Communiqué (2004), following which the national priorities were accepted for the first time.

Then, as part of the second follow-up meeting in Helsinki (2006), the process was evaluated and the emphasis was placed on strengthening the priorities below:

  • Creating a policy that aims to improve the attractiveness and quality of vocational education and training,
  • Preparing and implementing shared tools for VET,
  • Strengthening mutual learning,
  • Involving all parties.

Maastricht Communiqué (2004)

On 14 December 2004, the European ministers responsible for vocational education and training, the European social partners and the European Commission decided to strengthen their cooperation in order to modernise their vocational education and training systems and to offer all Europeans the qualifications and skills that they need to become involved in the emerging knowledge society.

Copenhagen Process (2002)

The Copenhagen Process pertains to the strengthening of European cooperation in vocational education and training and its purpose was to improve the general efficiency, quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training (VET) in Europe.

The process aimed to establish:

  • A single framework for the transparency of skills and qualifications,
  • A transfer system for VET training credits,
  • Shared quality principles and criteria for VET,
  • Shared principles for the approval of non-formal and informal learning,
  • The principle of lifelong guidance.

Bologna Process (1999)

The Bologna Process is a process of European reforms which aimed to create a European Higher Education Area in 2010 to harmonise training courses and adopt a shared diploma system based on the following principles:

  • A higher education structure based on three levels, for which the names vary according to the country.
    In Luxembourg the following terms are used: "Bachelor", "Master" and "Doctorate";
  • The adoption of a diploma system that is easy to understand and compare, with a diploma supplement,
  • The implementation of a shared European credits system to describe curriculums and to promote student mobility as widely as possible,
  • The organisation of studies into semesters and teaching units,
  • The development of cross-disciplinary skills and knowledge (languages, computer science, communication techniques etc.).

It is not about implementing a single system, but rather placing diverse national systems into a shared framework.

Luxembourg Process (1997)

The Luxembourg employment summit anticipated the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam by launching the European Employment Strategy - EES (Stratégie Européenne pour l’Emploi - SEE). The goal was to reduce unemployment in Europe considerably over 5 years. This involved an integrated policy for areas linked to employment, including the education policy.

The EES introduced a new working method, the "Open method of coordination" (OMC) (La méthode ouverte de coordination - MOC). This method creates a balance between the responsibility of the community and that of the Member States (principle of subsidiarity). It sets out quantified shared goals to reach at a community level, and puts in place monitoring at a European level promoted through the sharing of experiences.

The EES led to the preparation of the Lisbon Strategy, and was also incorporated into it.

Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)

The Treaty of Amsterdam includes a chapter on employment, which should be realised by way of a coordinated employment strategy. It states that the promotion of qualified manpower is in our shared interest.

Essen Strategy (1994)

The European Council meeting in Essen set out 5 key objectives to be met by the Member States in order to combat unemployment. They were:

  • Promote investment in vocational training,
  • Strengthen the intensive growth of manpower,
  • Reduce indirect salary costs,
  • Increase the efficiency of labour market policies, and,
  • Combat youth and long-term unemployment.

"Delors" White Paper (1993)

In December 1993, the European Council highlighted the importance of a return to economic growth and the need to implement measures aimed at promoting employment in the white paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment.

They particularly emphasised education and training, to "build a flexible and strong European economy able to benefit fully from the creation of the single market which is capable of creating jobs for all and confronting international competition".

Subsequently, the policies of the Member States on education and training had to aim towards the objectives of the white paper "Teaching and Learning - Towards the Learning Society" that was adopted at the end of 1995 by the European Commission. This document was to set the tone of the importance of the changes to be made to training in the context of economic and technological transformations.


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