EU office: Newsletter - November 2022

European Year promotes skills of all Europeans

Every year since 1983, Europe has paid special attention to a different theme. In 2023, the focus will be on skills relevant to the labour market.

In the “European Year of Skills”, the EU Commission wants to address the skills shortage in the EU and prevent educational deficits in adulthood. For this purpose, in the coming year, the Commission will concentrate on promoting investment in training and upskilling, making sure skills are relevant for labour market needs, and making it easier for skilled workers from third countries to have their qualifications recognised.

In the field of lifelong learning, the Commission wants to achieve an annual training rate of 60% by 2030. To make this possible, it wants to promote basic digital skills among EU citizens, so that over 80% of Europeans possess these basic skills by the end of the decade.

Another focal point will be the improvement of qualifications for professional activities. In particular, this will benefit women who are not in the labour market, and young people who have not completed any education or vocational training. For migrants, it will be made easier to have their education and qualifications recognised.

The issue of qualification will remain relevant in the EU, even after the “European Year of Skills”: from 2021–2027, a total of 99 billion euros from the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will be spent on the qualification of EU citizens.

In the same period, 26.2 billion euros will be provided for educational programmes for young people through Erasmus+.

UNESCO school camp with 53 students from Saxony, the Czech Republic and Poland

The UNESCO School Camp was organised by the “Uferlos” depart-ment of AGJF Sachsen e. V.

From 19 to 23 September, Chemnitz hosted the UNESCO Youth Camp 2022 of the UNESCO Associated Schools’ Network. Under the slogan “Happiness on Earth – a call to be brave and take part”, students from the network in Saxony spent five days with students from Poland and the Czech Republic. There, they took part in workshops on the topic of sustainability, delivered by various organisations in Chemnitz and the surrounding area. For example, students could choose a workshop about animal rights and sustainability from the AJZ e. V. youth centre, or a workshop about everyday sustainability run by solaris Förderzentrum für Jugend und Umwelt gGmbH Sachsen, an educational centre for youth and the environment.

The students also tried their hand at the photovoice method by photographically documenting their impressions of sustainability in the city of Chemnitz and discussing the photographs with the entire group afterwards.

At the same time, the specialist conference of the UNESCO project schools took place, where experts, employees of the Saxon State Ministry for Cultural Affairs and students were able to meet and converse.

Volunteers of the European Solidarity Corps in Chemnitz

Young volunteers from Portugal, France, Belarus, Hungary, Spain and Turkey are currently completing volunteer placements as participants of the European Solidarity Corps at solaris FZU gGmbH Sachsen, an educational centre for youth and the environment, and at F+U Sachsen gGmbH, a charitable educational institution, in Chemnitz. They work in various social institutions, such as the inter-generational centre, the educational adventure centre of solaris FZU gGmbH Sachsen, or in the occupational rehabilitation department of the F+U. The length of the placement varies from person to person, meaning the number and composition of volunteers is constantly changing.

On 10 October, some of the European volunteers visited the Chemnitz Town Hall, where they were shown around by EU Co-ordinator Pia Sachs. After climbing the tall tower, the volunteers enjoyed a sunny view of the city. Before the tour, the volunteers learned interesting facts about the city and its European activities in the atmospheric “Green Salon”.

Since 2017, the European Solidarity Corps has enabled young people between the age of 18 and 30 with citizenship of an EU country to volunteer in another EU country or partner country. The volunteer service enables young people to participate in and gain experiences abroad within Europe.


German Eurocities Dialogue in Frankfurt and Culture Forum in Lille

In early October, the German member cities of the European city network gathered in Frankfurt for the “German Eurocities Dialogue”. The City of Chemnitz was represented by Contact Officer Pia Sachs. As well as plenty of input and discussion on the establishment of a EUROCITIES working group on “Youth participation”, the Energy department of the City of Frankfurt presented the programme “100 climate neutral & smart cities by 2030”, launched by the Commission. 71 of these cities are also members of the EUROCITIES network.

Another milestone for the network in this regard is the founding of the organisation “EUROCITIES climate-neutral and just transition”. In November, the organisation will for the first time invite representatives of the network cities to meet and discuss strategies and solutions for climate neutrality and fair structural change.

Shortly prior to this, from 28 to 30 September, the EUROCITIES Culture Forum took place in Lille, France, this year with a focus on “resilient and sustainable culture”. There, strategies to link culture with the sustainable actions of various cities were presented and discussed.

New General Secretary André Sobczak in office

New General Secretary André Sobczak

With plenty of new ideas, André Sobczak took over as General Secretary of the EUROCITIES Network in August 2022. Sobczak brings to the table over 20 years of experience as a manager, was a member of the Nantes Municipal Council for eight years until 2022, and is especially committed to the issue of sustainability. He wants to bring the same level of commitment to his work as the new General Secretary and aims to provide the cities of Europe with even more intensive support for sustainable transformation processes. Sobczak hopes to establish a EUROCITIES Academy, which offers training for the leadership personnel of member cities.

He also wants to support the long-term reconstruction of Ukrainian cities by forming a pool of experts within the network.

For this purpose, he met with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to pledge his support to the Ukrainian cities via EUROCITIES.

Another of Sobczak’s ideas is an exchange programme, which would allow employees of the member cities and personnel at the Brussels headquarters to swap perspectives. During the programme, personnel from Brussels would spend a longer time supporting the cities in the network with their expertise, and employees of the cities would gain insights into the work that is done at the headquarters.

20 years of SOLVIT support in cases of non-compliance with EU regulations


With SOLVIT, the EU offers a free service that is provided to citizens and businesses in the EU in the event that national authorities do not comply with EU regulations.

In the event of a complaint, SOLVIT aims to recommend a solution within ten weeks. Since 2002, the service has assisted citizens and businesses who suspect the violation of their EU rights, for example, if a qualification is not recognised or a registration of residence is refused by another EU country. To date, 29,000 cases have been processed by SOLVIT, of which 85% were solved directly.

European dates for November 2022

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