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Strategic plan 2020-2024 – Education, Youth, Sport and Culture

Few policy areas are closer to the daily life and experiences of EU citizens than education, culture, youth and sport. Although EU competences in these fields are limited, it is here that the EU has some of the most meaningful and direct impact on people across the Member States. These areas are key to having a resilient European Union with citizens that are ready for the future – citizens with the necessary skills to succeed, and who share a European identity.

If Europeans are to thrive together, they must also build a Union that belongs to all, based on common values. Polarisation in societies is increasingly growing which raises questions about the ability of European countries to create a common sense for shared values. Without decisive action, young people could be locked out of the labour markets of the future, and in particular those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The rise of populism and disinformation can only be stopped if everyone, no matter their age or background, can acquire the knowledge and skills for the societies and economic models of the future, including to engage with digitalised information critically.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected around 100 million learners and teachers and has tested not only the resilience of education and training systems across Europe but also the well-being of young people. It has affected millions of artists in the cultural and creative sectors as well as athletes and sport amateurs with the cancellation of events and the closing of sporting facilities, bringing numerous small organisations in both sectors to the brink of disappearance. It has also severely impacted EU and regional innovation ecosystems, putting at risk the survival of high-growth innovative companies which are crucial to tackle the economic crisis that will follow the pandemic.

Tackling the effect of COVID-19 requires a coordinated European response, within the EU and with our global partners, particularly with the Western Balkans, the EU Neighbourhood and Africa. At the same time, we need to continue working towards our priorities to tackle long-term challenges, such as digital transformation whilst ensuring equity and inclusion, and a transition to climate neutrality. The future Erasmus, the European Solidarity Corps, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Creative Europe all involve a high degree of individual mobility that we plan to further reinforce and make greener. They also offer space for projects that focus on sustainability and thus help lead to innovative solutions. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) play a key role in that regard by contributing to strengthening innovation ecosystems through the integration of the knowledge triangle activities (education, innovation and research).

The purpose of this strategic plan is to guide the activities of DG EAC in the next five years and to make sure that the strategic objectives are in line with the political priorities. The strategic plan is divided into two parts. The first part presents the objectives to be achieved in the domains of education and training, sport, youth, culture, research and innovation, in terms of policy and programmes. The second part presents how DG EAC will contribute to modernising the Commission administration.

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Strategic Plan 2020-2024
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