Sweden has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the first six months of the EU, bringing with it an official programme of priorities. For the next six months, Sweden will have the opportunity to set the political agenda and steer the debate among member states.
As the Presidency of the Council of the EU affects all EU member states (and their regions), EARLALL has reviewed the presidency’s official programme of priorities in the field of lifelong learning. EARLALL’s Swedish regional member, Västra Götaland, shared how their regional development strategy (2021-2030) reflects the current priorities of the Presidency.
Digital Skills at the forefront of the Twin Transition
The EU has long considered that the digital and green transitions reinforce one another, creating a ‘Twin Transition’. The link between these two transitions, and the joint upskilling efforts needed to respond to both changes, is highlighted in the priorities of the Swedish priorities. According to the official programme of the Swedish Presidency:
The EU must continue to provide the best possible conditions for a sound and open economy based on [….] successful digitalisation […] European companies that provide green solutions will be in high global demand and can help drive the transition towards a circular economy.
As digitalisation increases the need for new knowledge and expertise in everything from technical infrastructure and programming to communication and work processes, the Region Västra Götaland (Sweden) is also focusing on improving and speeding up the digitalisation of society and regional businesses.
Resolving Skills Supply Challenge
According to the Council’s Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning, “Key competences [for lifelong learning] include knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by all for personal fulfilment and development, employability, social inclusion and active citizenship.” In this light, reskilling Europeans has a particular economic and social importance. Reflecting the need to respond to the twin transition in terms of skills, the Swedish Presidency underlines that “Basic skills and lifelong learning are the building blocks that resolve skills supply challenges”. Moreover, during the upcoming European Year of Skills, “the Presidency intends to link up with this and one of its focus areas, matching skillsets to labour market needs.”
Mirroring the importance of addressing the skills shortage, Västra Götaland’s Skills programme has prioritised areas to address these issues by increasing the potential for upskilling and reskilling to meet shifts in technology and changing needs on the labour market; combatting skills mismatch in the labour market; Developing cooperation between education coordinators, the Public Employment Service, employers, and industry representatives and capitalising on and develop the skills of the workforce and make it easier for more people to become established on the labour market.
Sustainable and Youth Development
In line with the green transition, “The Swedish Presidency intends to highlight the social dimension of sustainable development”. Moreover, the official programme of the upcoming Presidency indicates that they intend to “work on a Council resolution on the conclusions of the ninth cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue [….] and on a Council resolution on the midterm review of the work plan for the EU Youth Strategy 2022–2024.” This will be an important transition between the European Year of Youth 2022 and the upcoming European Year of Skills 2023.
What actions in the Presidency are related to lifelong learning?
Based on the official programme of the Swedish Presidency, the following concrete actions that will contribute to a lifelong learning culture in the EU will be undertaken:
You can follow the updates on the Swedish Presidency here.