Education, culture ministers present achievements of EU presidency

Ljubljana – Education Minister Simona Kustec and Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti presented on Wednesday the key achievements of the Slovenian EU presidency, with Kustec noting the achievements in the field of the European Research Area and the adoption of the European model of sport. Simoniti noted the decisions in support of the European audiovisual sector.

Kustec presented the most important achievements in education, sports, youth and science and research, the fields that she covered as part of the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of last year.

“I believe that the achievements of our presidency have laid the foundations for at least another decade of development of key orientations in each department,” the minister told a press conference in Ljubljana.

As the Covid-19 pandemic also marked the field of education, Kustec said that this had raised the question of the need to identify new visions of knowledge and modes of education, which had resulted in the adoption of a resolution on adult education until 2030.

Another such “concrete response to the pandemic” was the adoption of recommendations on blended learning, as well as a strategic framework that forms the basis for the European Education Area (ERA).

As for sport, Kustec noted the adoption of the European model of sport as a “historic achievement” that preserves the role of sport as a fundamental, symbolic link between openness and equality. The EU ministers also supported a clear commitment to promoting sport as a lifelong physical activity, she said.

In the field of youth policies, Slovenia has achieved more than it originally planned, mostly owing to the decision of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to make this year the European Year of Youth, the minister said.

She mentioned the ERA as a great achievement of the Slovenian presidency in science and research, which will serve as a basis for research and scientific activity in the coming period.

Kustec also mentioned the Ljubljana Declaration that represents a very clear commitment to respecting gender equality in the research and scientific space.

Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti said that coordinating and formulating common positions in the EU in the field of culture, given the different interests of the member states, was a very demanding task.

He said that a lot of work and energy had been invested in this, and he assessed the results as a “success”.

Among the successes, he noted the adoption of decisions in support of the European audiovisual and media sector, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the resolutions on the New European Bauhaus initiative.

Simoniti also noted the importance and role of European cultural heritage, to which a conference in Ljubljana and a meeting on European cultural heritage in Venice last September were dedicated.

The minister also noted major cultural events organised by Slovenia, including the Merman ballet in Bled at the beginning of the presidency, which, according to the minister, had been talked about in the EU as well.

In Brussels, Slovenia was featured with an exhibition of contemporary Slovenian visual art, called We Live in Exciting Times, and an exhibition by costume designer Alan Hranitelj entitled Mad Hatter’s Wardrobe, he added.