SOLIDAR Foundation will be weekly releasing one national case study accounting for the state of civic and cultural competences promotion and lifelong learning as well as the best practice examples of national non-formal education providers, while shedding light on the desperate need for more resources in the field of citizenship education. Today, 6 September 2019, marks the release of the Italian case study which comes in a timely moment for a country which confronts with political instability fueled by a nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric from the far-right movement. Moreover, SOLIDAR Foundation’s series of case studies comes in the context of attacks on the resources for citizenship promotion as seen from the European Council proposed budget cuts for the ERASMUS+ and Europe for Citizens programmes in the EU budget for the financial year 2020.
The European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) reunited on 4-5 September 2019 and unequivocally asked for a 10% increase in the ERASMUS+ and Europe for Citizens programmes for the financial year 2020. Fostering a sense of citizenship, ensuring social cohesion and building a European sense of belonging are essential for the EU which implies avoiding cuts in the aforementioned programmes especially in the context of the EP proposal to triple the ERASMUS+ budget in the next EU budget (MFF). SOLIDAR Foundation welcomes CULT Committee’s initiative, but reiterates its commitment to the Erasmus+ Coalition efforts to promote increasing the long-term budget for Erasmus+ even further while making the programme more inclusive.
During the CULT Committee meeting, the Finnish European Council presidency presented its priorities for education, placing emphasis on strengthening continuous learning, moving forward in establishing the European Education Area 2025, and ensuring better inclusivity in ERASMUS+. The priorities reinforce the need to ensure that European citizens are not excluded by having opportunities to upskill and reskill in the face of challenges such as digitalization and automatization. The focus on inclusion came from the perspective of workers’ labour market relevant skills as opposed to the promotion of values, and especially of the European identity, to boost citizens’ active participation in society.
Launching its national case studies in this particular moment, SOLIDAR Foundation aims to increase awareness on the need for greater financial support for the ERASMUS+ programme and on the importance of promoting civic and intercultural competences on an equal footing with the promotion of labour market relevant skills.