The Bundesrat

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture The European Commission's contribution to the Leaders' meeting in Gothenburg, 17 November 2017

Scrutiny details

Scrutiny Information

Scrutiny date: 12/12/2017

Subsidiarity Concern:

No Important information to exchange

No Veto

Information on parliamentary scrutiny

Referred to Committees on:

European Union Questions

Women and Youth

Cultural Affairs

Economic Affairs

Lisbon Treaty procedures
  Political Dialogue

12/12/2017 | Scrutiny results - COM20170673

The Bundesrat welcomes the fact that the Commission’s Communication puts education and culture high on the political agenda. The Communication forms part of a new decision-making process of the European Council (the so-called “Leaders’ Agenda”) towards which the Bundesrat has fundamental reservations. In particular, the Bundesrat is concerned that education and culture – the policy areas that have been communitized the least – should be subjected to this process. The Council’s specialized bodies in this area, on a ministerial as well as on a working level, absolutely must continue to be involved with all respective subjects in a leading fashion. Circumventing these bodies would be highly problematic for technical and competence reasons, and, not the least, in light of the principle of subsidiarity.
While sharing the view that education and culture form essential pillars in creating a European sense of community, a holistic education needs to be directed at individuals and, at all times, bear in mind the personality development of individuals. The utilitarian view of education, repeatedly shown by the Commission through advocating for utilizing education to create human capital or strengthen a European identity, is not in accordance with the intrinsic value of education. Similarly, the economic value of culture is iterated in the Communication, while artistic exchange is mentioned only peripherally. The Bundesrat, however, stresses the intrinsic value of artistic and cultural production. In addition, engaging with the European cultural heritage must go hand in hand with conveying democratic and rule of law principles.

The Bundesrat urges the Commission to respect the member states’ responsibility for curricula and designing the education system. EU measures can only be taken by excluding any harmonization. The Bundesrat welcomes the Commission’s goal to extend the “Erasmus+” program. However, educational experiences can be collected not only through mobility, but also in the framework of school exchanges. The Bundesrat rejects plans of establishing benchmarks for learning foreign languages as these fall in the member states’ competency for their respective curricula and would not respect certain characteristics. As for introducing a European student ID, the Bundesrat opposes any top-down approach. Furthermore, questions regarding data protection need to be solved first.
The Bundesrat acknowledges the positive effects of EU measures in the cultural sphere, namely the “Creative Europe” and the “European Capitals of Culture” programs. However, raising the guarantee mechanism for the cultural and creative sectors which has only been introduced in 2016 and has not been evaluated yet, seems premature at this point in time.

Contact points for EU matters

IPEX Correspondents:
Phone: +49 (0) 301 891 00 471  Email Mr. Michael Hoessl
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