A strong European dimension to citizenship education is fundamental for youth across Europe
by Roxana Lazarescu
The pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine proved, once again, that Europe needs to urgently emerge as an educational power. Citizenship education is particularly essential for the development of a shared culture that can preserve the pluralism of our democracies. It empowers young citizens to learn and embrace European values such as participatory democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament believes that we need to strengthen the European dimension of citizenship education. As shown in the report adopted today, citizenship education suffers from an implementation gap. Existing EU programmes, such as Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, should be used to their fullest potential. There are still disparities between Member States when it comes to the number of hours studied and there is a lack of coordination at European level. The Renew Europe Group advocates for the development and mutual recognition of national civic services and increased funding for European civic mobility.
Renew Europe calls for:
• a pedagogical renewal, common definition and strategy, insisting on the development of psychosocial skills, critical thinking and media literacy;
• a substantial increase in the quality of citizenship education, also through teachers training, and a greater focus on the vocational education and training sector.
• a multilevel discussion on policy development in the area of education and youth through the Conference on the Future of Europe;
MEP Ilana CICUREL (Liste Renaissance, France) Renew Europe shadow rapporteur on the issue, says:
“Strengthening European civic mobility, carrier of our values in action, is a powerful way, alongside Erasmus+, to root our youth in the values that hold us together. This is one of the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”
Renew Europe also supports the creation of a curricula on EU and global civic education that can be voluntarily adopted by Member States and increased European governance, through the creation of a permanent structure responsible for citizenship education, in the form of dedicated units within the EU institutions.