In an interview with EURACTIV, UNICE’s Secretary General, Philippe de Buck, addresses how better education and training systems can help Europe become the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world.
Philippe de Buck, Secretary General of the Union of Industrial and Employers Confederations of Europe (UNICE), is straight forward in his approach on the links between education and the Lisbon strategy. To him, in-depth reforms are needed in education and training systems to provide “the basis for innovation and world-class research and development in Europe, and cope with qualification and knowledge needs”.
To make lifelong learning a reality, Philippe de Buck believes that diplomas, professional certificates or other qualifications could be useful instruments to recognise and validate learning achievements acquired through work experience (non-formal and informal learning). He says that “lifelong learning should be approached more from the angle of investment in human resources and policy-makers should also look into the return on investment in terms of increased competitiveness”.
De Buck underlines business concerns over the ‘brain drain’ from European researchers to the United States and asks for steps to be taken to reverse the situation to a ‘brain gain’ into Europe. He highlights that business wants policy-makers to put the right emphasis on developing high-quality scientific and technical studies.
In view of the European Spring Council, the European business’ representative urges governments to speed up reforms of the education and training systems in Member States and to acknowledge the social partners’ contribution to the debate.