The whole of Europe and EPA itself are facing major challenges these days. The decision makers of the EU are in the final stages of making their creating a budget to carry out the EU2020 strategy. Understanding the importance of education, it became one of the five major areas of EU2020. The two main targets in education are reducing early school leaving rates to below 10% and increasing the ratio of young people finishing tertiary education to 40%. Another major strategy area is to reach a dramatic decrease in the number of people living in poverty or social exclusion. The role of parents and the importance of involving all parents in education cannot be questioned in reaching these goals.
It has been a challenge for parental associations all over Europe to involve more parents in their day-to-day activities, especially those less advantaged to offer them peer learning activities for a greater success of their children in life.
In the past years EPA became a well-established partner in policy discussions on EU-level. A strong relationship has been built with EU-institutions as well as other European NGOs. The United Nations are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family and on this occasion they have published a declaration asking UN member states to recognise and support families. As a follow-up to the European Year of Citizens, in line with the anniversary, there is a proposal for the EU to declare 2014 the European Year of Family and Work Reconciliation. Regardless the success of this initiative 2014 should be a year when the whole of Europe focuses on families and parents in one way or another.
The beginning of the new policy period of the EU, the upcoming European Parliamentary elections and the emphasis on families next year provides EPA a perfect opportunity to meet European partners as well as to talk about the main internal challenges ahead. Thus the board of EPA decided to hold its 2013 GA and conference in Brussels, where our members cannot only meet each other but also our partners. The programme, linked to the Life-Long Learning Week, was designed so that our members had time and opportunity to position themselves for the challenges ahead.
Join the debate on twitter! #LLLWeek 2013