The history of European cooperation in education and training
Europe in the making : an example
This book tell the story – one could almost call it an adventure – of how a ‘Europe of education and ‘training’ has gradually been constructed. In so doing, and by focusing on this one specific area of policy, it also provides a concrete example of the process of building Europe itself. European integration may often seem a technocratic business, in the hands of remote institutions responsible for mainly macroeconomic policies whose benefits are not immediately felt by the public at large. The principal merit of this book is to remind the reader that, over the years, a different ‘Europe’ has... also been created, one which connects with its citizens and reaches out directly to a great many people. How widely is it known, for example, that almost 1.5 million students have received an Erasmus grant since the programme began? The book also explains how this was achieved, thanks to the commitment of all institutional partners at European and national levels and, in particular, the involvement of the world of education out in the field. The Europe of education and training has thus followed a developmental path very much of its own, starting with the first action programme of February 1976and continuing through a number of major steps such as the first inclusion of education, in 1992, in the Maastricht Treaty. But some of the strategies described in this book also illustrate a dual approach to the building Europe which underlies the European construction process in other areas too: the reader will learn, for example, how the instruments for concrete action – major programmes with increasing budgets (Comett, Erasmus, Lingua, Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, and so on) – have developed alongside initiatives involving strengthened political cooperation, in particular since the Lisbon European Council of March 2000. From its more detached vantage point, this work thus puts into perspective the impatience of those who feel that Europe is not progressing quickly enough: in fact, a very great deal has been achieved. Of course, building a Europe of knowledge is not without its problems, and it was clear that no one could have been better placed to describe the different phases of this delicate process than some of those most directly involved.