European student unions are not happy with the implications of a recently-leaked proposal for the new European Commission. It appears that in the near future, none of the Commissioners’ portfolios will include Education.

In the words of the European Students’ Union and the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions, the students are ‘outraged’. “The European Commission and the member states of the European Union are not taking the education community in Europe seriously if this proposal is adopted. This is a terrible mistake (…),” the student representatives write in a statement.

‘Education’ scrapped from list

As it stands, Eurocommissioner Androulla Vassiliou’s current portfolio ‘Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth’ will be replaced by the combination ‘Skills, Youth and Multilingualism’. According to the proposal, which was leaked last week via the website, the Belgian politician Marianne Thyssen is to be appointed the new European commissioner for this portfolio.

Education more than just skills

The student unions fear that education will take a back seat in the Commissioner’s new set of responsibilities. Although skills may be important to prospective employers, the students write, education amounts to more than just training. “(…) education has a very broad range of benefits for society as well as individuals – providing the right skills for the labour market being only one of them.”

The final composition of the new European Commission is expected to be announced in the course of this week. HOP