Culture & education

Culture & education

Culture is at the heart of Europe and our identities. Culture is what makes us distinctive but binds us together and allows us to flourish in diversity. Successful programmes such as Erasmus+ have already allowed over 9 million EU citizens to explore our continent, broaden their horizons and engage in intercultural dialogue, as well as acquire new qualifications.

We strongly believe education and culture are a vital part of our society and should be accessible to all. Education and training are key to promoting social, economic and cultural inclusion, reducing inequalities and producing growth, while also fostering creativity. They can also help us become proactive, responsible citizens who can make informed decisions and fully participate in the democratic and social life of our communities, as well as at the EU level. This is why we are working hard to achieve equal access for all in education and culture.  

In 2017, Erasmus+ celebrated three decades of enriching lives and opening minds. The programme has enabled many Europeans to enhance their employment opportunities, improve their skills, open windows onto new cultures and participate fully in democratic life. So far, 9 million people and 125,000 institutions have benefited from EU grants and training.

To safeguard the programme’s success and widen access to help those who currently face financial constraints, Erasmus+ needs a larger budget. The S&D Group will continue its efforts to make Erasmus+ truly accessible to all.

Culture is the centrepiece of European identity. Europe’s cultural heritage is one of the greatest in the world and a source of great prestige internationally.  Culture is also a source of economic growth and livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of people who work in the cultural and arts sectors.

This is why we want to defend rights for authors and a fair copyright system, as well as ensuring European culture is protected in international trade deals. We firmly believe that artists deserve decent working conditions and we stand by them to achieve it.

For us, education is a fundamental right, which all European citizens are entitled to, a driver for social, economic and cultural inclusion, and essential for personal and professional fulfilment. Quality education, training and skills must therefore be accessible and affordable for all. 

However, despite the progress made, there are still many obstacles to achieving equal access, namely a lack of equal opportunities and/or funding. For this reason, we call on Europe to adopt a holistic approach, recognising the role of formal education – as well as informal alternatives – and training in tackling inequalities, and investing in high-quality educational programmes to ensure everyone can reach their potential.

Today, in Europe we are proud to have the most highly educated and skilled youth in the world.  Yet there are thousands of young people unemployed or trapped in unpaid or underpaid internships with few prospects of a decent job. At the same time, some young people who experience discrimination, isolation and a lack of opportunities become so frustrated they are vulnerable to radicalisation.

We want the voices of young people to be heard and young people must be given the opportunities they deserve to be able to create and excel.  It is vital that we listen to and engage with younger citizens and involve them in our democracy – they are our future.

The role of the media is critical in safeguarding democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. We believe in the freedom of press and condemn any effort to restrict it. The Socialists and Democrats are committed to fighting to ensure that the role of the press is respected and high-quality journalism is allowed to flourish. Therefore, we need to promote and strengthen quality investigative journalism, improve protection for journalists when they are under attack and reinforce co-operation between journalists and trade unions.