PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR THE EU PRESIDENCY 2017 AND EU FUNDS: Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency and EU Funds Dr Ian Borg participates in ‘A Presidency Closer to Students’ Conference organised by KSJC

During the debate, Dr Ian Borg said that during its six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU, the presiding member is expected to play a leading role in reinforcing the collective thrust of the EU project, in maintaining a solid rhythm in the EU legislative and coordination processes, as well as in promoting the role of the EU in the international context. He also explained how the trio Presidency works and made reference to the priorities Malta chose to work on during the 6 months of its Presidency. He made reference to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean and stated that the Presidency is ensuring that early and effective action is taken on the migration agenda.

When asked about social inclusion, Dr Borg explained that fighting poverty and social exclusion is one of the five headline targets that the EU adopted under its 2020 strategy for the advancement of the economy of the European Union aiming at “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.” He argued that Malta places strong emphasis on raising active inclusion and addressing current social challenges. Current policy actions include the making-work-pay package, housing support, a new proposal for a comprehensive national child policy, efforts to improve citizens’ skills and recent measures to improve pension adequacy.

Parliamentary Secretary Borg reiterated that the Presidency of the Council of the EU is also beneficial to students. The best way in which students and young citizens can best benefit from the Presidency is to become either directly associated with it, or to be involved in its activities. He continued to say that the Maltese Presidency has created a number of openings for young qualified persons to join the working party teams in Brussels. Others have joined the liaison teams which support the high level meetings taking place in Malta.

In relation to issues relating to education in particular, and to youth in general, Dr Borg said that the Maltese Presidency is actively working on the issue of High Quality Education for All, on the New Skills Agenda for Europe, on the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, and on the Proposal for a Decision on Europass.

In addition, the Maltese Presidency intends to finalise the Fifth Cycle of the Trio Structured Dialogue on enabling young people to engage in a diverse, connected and inclusive Europe, and to work towards setting the priorities for the incoming Trio Cycle. He explained that during its Presidency, Malta is focusing on two related and interdependent themes in the field of youth which tie up with the scope of the Erasmus+ Programme. The first theme reaches out and supports young people, including those at risk of marginalisation. The second theme focuses on promoting the formal recognition of quality youth work.

Dr Borg concluded by stating that the Maltese Presidency supports youth work as a means of non-formal and informal learning in acquiring life skills and competences, and as a value added tool for cross-sectoral cooperation in supporting young people’s transition to adulthood and to employment.

Source: Government of Malta