What EQF, ECVET and RPL are not about: Myths and reality

Many countries fear to be obliged to implement a particular VET system and to have to follow political aims and strategies developed by the European Union.

Such fears are baseless since in the European Union, responsibility for education lies within the Member States and any kind of harmonisation in the field of education initiated by the European Union is banned. Instead, the European Union and its institutions play a supporting role only. According to Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Community

‘shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States, through actions such as promoting the mobility of citizens, designing joint study programmes, establishing networks, exchanging information or teaching languages of the European Union. The Treaty also contains a commitment to promote life-long learning for all citizens of the Union’.

If Member States develop common aims, instruments or strategies, this is done on a voluntary basis. The European Union seeks to encourage Member States to improve the quality of their education and training systems rather than it obliges them to adopt particular targets. However, once all Member States and the European Union have developed common goals and agreed on them, the Union monitors and publishes the position of Member States in achieving them.