4/08/2017

DigiLitEY Think Tank meeting in London – report

I was invited to join the Think Tank meeting of the DigiLitEY project in London at the end of March 2017 as an expert. This research project is focused on technology use by children under 8 years of age. The London event mostly focused on the working group that focuses on parents and home. While we were presented interesting research evidence mostly gathered through literature review, a discussion has also been started on how it would be possible to engage as many parents in the discourse as possible.

4/04/2017

The Future of Europe is a Learning Europe

The Lifelong Learning Platform, EPA is an active member of, has just published a statement reflecting on the White Paper on the Future of Europe and other recent political developments, underlining the role of education in this future among other things, an element that seems to be somewhat neglected by policy makers. Read the statement here:

Last week, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter to President Tusk set a milestone in EU history. Only days later, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, during which civil society organisations, including the LLLP, called on leaders of Europe to show “vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries” through an open letter The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive.
On 1 March 2017, the European Commission published its White Paper on the future of Europe. While it does underline the need for skills and lifelong learning, there is little attention when it comes to the next steps and concrete commitments in this regard. The Lifelong Learning Platform, European Civil Society for Education, together with its members, is happy that the European Commission is going to look more thoroughly at the social dimension of Europe, but we are also concerned of the fact that it lacks an analysis of what really brings Europeans together and what drives the European identity among its citizens. As the Brexit begins, we are convinced that education and lifelong learning are precisely what will protect our unity.
Three key strands of actions are crucial in our view to bring Europeans together: Europeans want to
Meet & exchange: Mobility in order to learn and to exchange ideas and experiences is key to create understanding and ownership of the European Union. Erasmus+ is the flagship programme of the European Union and one of the most successful European programmes that has created intercultural learning, lasting European friendships and a strong European identity for all those participating. LLLP believes that a there is a need to further enlarge the accessibility to Erasmus+ to increase participation. We propose to consider how (young) people from disadvantaged backgrounds could also participate in Erasmus+ and especially also how to include adults or older people, i.e. groups that are currently least convinced about the European project.
Participate & shape: ‘Brussels’ is very far away from most Europeans. Additionally, national politicians and media tend to blame ‘Brussels’ for everything unpopular while claiming all things positive for themselves even if the origin is ‘Brussels’. LLLP therefore proposes to bring the EU closer to the European citizen and to provide the possibility to participate. It is extremely short-sighted that the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme has so few resources, so we suggest a considerable increase in funds for this programme as well as more opportunities for citizens to get involved.
Share & innovate: In Lifelong Learning, but also youth, culture, sports and research (as well as other areas) cooperation between people, institutions, SMEs etc. has led to an enormous transfer of innovation across Europe. Whether it is in small-scale strategic partnerships in Erasmus+, ESF and Horizon 2020 or in other exchange and cooperation programmes, this is where Europe can make enormous progress. The European Union has the real possibility to foster cooperation and innovation across Europe. It also has the opportunity to nurture areas where there is little commercial interest and therefore little outside financing available. LLLP therefore proposes a renewed effort to support exchange and innovation across Europe.
Finally, LLLP believes that learning is the future of Europe – learning for innovation, learning for our future jobs, but also learning from and with each other, learning for our personal development and learning to foster our values of solidarity, peace and democracy.
Find the original statement on lllplatform.eu

4/02/2017

Expert concerns about the General Data Protection Regulation

5 reasons why children should not require compulsory parental consent for internet service access 
Janice Richardson, an international expert on internet safety has approched EPA asking for support of the statement below. She was one of the keynote speakers at the Lisbon EPA conference on the challenges of the digital age. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved by the EU last year and will be compulsory for all EU countries. There is regulation in the GDPR making it compulory to acquire parental consent for the use of any online service for children, a step that restricts parents' rights, there are pedagogical concerns about it and it is likely to widen the digital divide. Thus the Board of EPA decided to fully support the statement.

3/21/2017

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Common appeal to European leaders by European Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions

21 March 2017

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.

3/08/2017

Cementing civil society’s role in protecting the European Project

The Social Platform publishes regular editorials by its leaders as part of the Social Compass sent to a high number of subsribers every week. Following major decisions of the European Parliament and discussions within the platform as well as among civil society actors like the Lifelong Learning Platform, Concord, Civil Society Europe and many others, EPA's President and Vice President of the Social Platform was asked to write an editorial that we share here with you. It is on a much broader topic than our usual ones, but the forthcoming changes are necessarily having a huge impact on the lives of our children as well as on us, parents, so we think it is interesting for you. When thinking about the role of civil society in affecting decisions it is not only about adjusting the volume (so that citizens' voices are heard) but also about tuning to the right channel.

3/07/2017

Have your say on Erasmus+


The European Commission has launched an open public consultation in the context of the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+ including the long-term impact of the predecessor programmes. This is an opportunity to offer your experiences with Erasmus+ programmes as a parent of Erasmus-students and as participants of Erasmus+ programmes.

3/05/2017

New EU Commission plans on returns and detention will create more harm and suffering

Over 90 civil society organisations address EU Commission in a joint statement published on 3 March 2017. Social Platform, EPA is a member of, is one if the signees and the statement is fully in line with EPA's advocacy efforts. Bowing down to political pressure to be “tough” on irregular migration, the European Commission has turned its back on the full implementation of human rights safeguards in its Returns’ Directive and is actively pushing member states to lower the bar.