Spain holds the Presidency of the Council until December 2023 included.
Committee on Culture and Education
On 7 September, acting Minister for Education and Vocational Training Pilar Alegría said the presidency will focus on educational responses to support Ukraine, ambitious implementation of the European Education area, promoting STEM professions among women and the contribution of education to European values.
Joan Subirats, acting Minister for Universities, told MEPs that the priorities are the “European Universities” initiative, sexist violence and sexual harassment in higher education, as well as improving access to education for vulnerable groups. Miquel Iceta, acting Minister of Culture and Sport, mentioned the sustainable management of cultural heritage, improving living conditions for artists and cultural workers, the videogames sector and finding an agreement on the European Media Freedom Act by December 2023.
MEPs stressed the importance of mutual recognition of qualifications also in vocational training, such as the skills acquired in volunteering, while others insisted on reversing the Commission’s proposed cuts to the 2024 Erasmus+, Creative Europe and European Solidarity Corps programmes. They called for EU minority languages to be included in EU education and culture programmes.
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
On 7 September, MEPs asked José Luis Escrivá, acting Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to make progress on the coordination of social security systems, currently stuck in the Council. MEPs also quizzed the minister on the presidency’s plans on migration, particularly on migrants’ social and employment rights.
Yolanda Diaz, acting Spanish Vice-President and Minister for Work and Social Economy, outlined three priorities: social dialogue, decent work, and social economy. MEPs demanded progress on the Platform Workers’ Directive, currently being negotiated. They also asked about the presidency’s plans on quality traineeships as well as on mental health at work.