The EMPL (European Commission's Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) Committee meeting of October 29 included the consideration of a question for oral answer and a motion for a resolution on the European Skills Agenda for Sustainable Competitiveness, Social Fairness and Resilience by Rapporteur Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Slovakia).
Overall, MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) from the different political groups broadly welcomed the European Commission's Communication on the EU Skills Agenda. The Renew Europe and European Conservatives and Reformists groups announced their intention of tabling a few amendments to further reinforce the promotion of skills and digital skills.
Main highlights of the meeting:
- Implementation of the EU Skills Agenda: MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Slovakia) welcomed the 12 actions of the Skills Agenda and called for their rapid implementation with an appropriate funding allocation both at the EU and Member State level. MEPs Anna Zalewska (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Slovakia, Poland) and Elena Lizzi (Identity and Democracy Group, Italy) also welcomed the Communication, stressing the need for effective and rapid implementation, along with adequate funding. In addressing the MEPs’ concerns about funding, Julie Fionda (Directorate-General EMPL) stated that investment in people and skills is a key priority of the European Commission.
- Digital revolution and impacts on labour markets: MEP Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/European Free Alliance, Netherland) stressed the importance of acknowledging that the digital revolution and automation are leading to the loss of jobs. She further added that, despite the skills mismatch in the EU, solving the skills gap alone will not solve the issue of unemployment. MEP María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop (European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group, Spain) also argued that the Skills Agenda should be accompanied by employment policies. She further stated that big data and Artificial Intelligence can cause harm to employment.
- Lifelong Learning (LLL): MEP Andrea Bocskor (European People's Party, Hungary) highlighted the importance of strengthening the LLL. On this matter, MEP Anna Zalewska (European Conservatives and Reformists Group, Poland) stressed the importance of digitising education to promote innovation, and the importance of new skills acquisitions.
- Skilling and Reskilling and stakeholders participation: Lina Gálvez Muñoz (Socialists & Democrats Group, Spain) argued that skilling and reskilling should be a right, and called for further participation of social partners and stakeholders. MEP María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop (European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group, Spain) added that the EU should require businesses to take up responsibility to increase the skills of their employers, through training activities.
- Vocational education and training: MEP Dragoș Pîslaru (Renew Europe Group, Romania) highlighted the importance of vocational training as a key component of the EU’s economy, calling for better interconnection with traditional education in a comprehensive framework.