Discussion Paper on the proposal for a European Agency for Citizenship Education published

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker (C) and Director of the Carnegie Foundation Steven van Hoogstraten (L) speak with children from the European School after presenting the plaque of the European Heritage Label in front of the Peace Palace in The Hague on April 9, 2014. The label is an initiative of the European Union and is attributed to locations which played a key role in Europe and the creation of the European Union. AFP PHOTO / ANP / BART MAAT **NETHERLANDS OUT** (Photo by BART MAAT / ANP / AFP)

On 7th December Values Unite and the European Policy Centre jointly published the discussion paper “Safeguarding European values: The case for a European Agency for Citizenship Education”.

A European Agency for Citizenship Education would seek to improve the access to and the quality of citizenship education in all EU member states and support the development of a European dimension of citizenship education. The Agency would promote a comprehensive approach towards citizenship education, directed at all age groups, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and locations. Being needs-oriented, the Agency would focus on those areas and actors that require the most support. In addition, it would foster innovative and digital learning methods, which have become especially relevant due to the new normal under COVID-19. The Agency would provide funding, learning materials, digital infrastructure and capacity building opportunities to educators. It would work in a decentralised manner and in close cooperation with local and regional actors, but also remain non-partisan and independent of governments and EU institutions’ political agenda.

Establishing an EU agency that focuses on citizenship education is an ambitious task. Several steps will be necessary to reach this goal, as the current political setup of the European Council is not likely to endorse the establishment of such an agency. National governments are reticent to push for more European action in education, despite regular declarations endorsing active citizenship in the Union. In the meantime, the EU should focus on investing in research and monitoring to better understand the state of play of citizenship education in Europe. The EU could also identify the necessary steps to establish such an agency by launching a Pilot Project and Preparatory Action, as part of the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

Access more information on the proposal and download the paper here.