MEET, the Movement towards a European Education Trust, submitted
a European Citizens Initiative using new powers under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty which give citizens the right to demand new laws directly from the European Commission – provided they can gather enough signatures.
The MEET proposal is the eighth officially registered European Citizens’ Initiative. It calls for the creation of an Education platform to stimulate debate on how to improve schools and boost the European dimension of education in line with the EU’s 2020 strategy. “Europe’s future depends on Education, how to educate citizens, how they learn. Common education goals reflecting European basic values should be at the heart of a solution to today’s challenges,” says Ana Gorey, President of MEET.
Frequently Asked Questions:1. What is a European Citizens’ Initiative?
As stated on the European Commission’s website, “A European citizens’ initiative isan invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. A citizens’ initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states. A minimum number of signatories is required in each of those 7 member states.” For us citizens, it is OUR chance to have OUR view known on a subject that we believe is crucial for the well-being of next generations and for the future of Europe.
2. Why do I need to give my personal data when signing?
To check if you are a real person! Indeed, the signatures we collect need to be approved by the relevant national authorities to ensure the validity of the Initiative. Look here (http://www.euroedtrust.eu/protection-de-donnees/) to find out more about our data protection policy set out together with the European Commission and the Luxemburg authorities. Remember, if you work or live abroad check national requirements first.
3. Why should I sign this one?
Because education should become and remain a priority for all decision-makers at all levels. Because high quality education is a right for every citizen in a democracy regardless his background and position in society. Because a European educational model is an appropriate answer to the processes of European integration and globalisation. Because nowadays classrooms are increasingly heterogeneous and culturally diverse. Because national educational systems can benefit from a greater opening to other national systems.
4. Who are the individuals and organisations behind this ECI?
This ECI was started by a group of ordinary citizens from 12 countries, many of them committed to the cause of European Education as NGOs working on diverse aspects of Education or members of the European Parents Association (EPA) or parents of students from various European schools or unions working at European level. Together they created MEET, the Movement for a European Education Trust, as a democratic and inclusive member-driven organisation, and set up a Citizens Committee to propose this ECI (see composition of the Citizens Committee here). Since the ECI was launched MEET managed to gain supporters (see Pledge Partnershere http://www.euroedtrust.eu/pledge-partners/) and to interest a number of civil society organisations to its cause (see leaflet here http://www.euroedtrust.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/MEET-EN.pdf)
5. Is this ECI a means to ask for more money for the European Schools to the European Commission?
No. The fact that some of the initiators of the ECI are related to the European Schools, most of them as parents, certainly does not mean that this is an ECI “for” the European schools. Quite the opposite. Having experience of the European schooling curriculum, they believe that European schooling should be accessible to all Europeans, not only those working for the European institutions. The advantages of European Schools’ curriculum and a common European Baccalaureate is an opportunity and an asset for all children and youngsters so this ECI wants to use the idea as an inspiration (among others) to build a European educational model.
6. What do you mean by High Quality?
A learner-centered competence-based education that contributes to the personal, social and professional development of young people, fostering employability while developing creativity, autonomy and active citizenship, in line with the EU Education and Training 2020 Policy.
7. What do you mean by European Education?
Educational policies and systems more open to transnational learning mobility of staff and students as well as multilingualism; increased harmonisation between the various national systems and increased communication between policy-makers across national borders; opportunity for a greater number of European citizens to opt for European schooling and for a greater number of schools to offer a European curriculum.
8. Why this initiative knowing that education is a competence of the Member States in the EU?
Though indirectly, the EU still has an impact on education policies throughout the Union. Since the adoption of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, political cooperation in education and training has been strengthened. Ministers of Education of all EU Member States cooperate through the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) that allows to coordinate national policies.
9. What do you hope will happen if you get the million signatures? What if not?
If this ECI is successful, the Commission should create a multi-stakeholder platform giving citizens a say in the Future of Education, in and for Europe. The platform should then provide a set of concrete tools for implementation and clear requirements to inspire and induce national educational systems to shift towards a greater European dimension. If unable to reach the threshold of signatures, this ECI will have nevertheless raised awareness and created a momentum on which MEET will continue to build to advance the cause of High Quality European Education for All.