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Friday, May 17, 2019

Freedom of Education in Europe

Riga, Latvia

On the 17th of May, ECPM candidate Inga Bite from the Latvijas Reģionu Apvienība (Latvian Alliance of Regions) organized an event on the state of freedom of education in Latvia and Europe. On behalf of ECPM, board member MP Valeriu Ghiletchi (Moldova) and the Director for European Affairs, Leo van Doesburg participated in the discussion. 

Valeriu Ghiletchi referenced several initiatives on freedom of education he spearheaded as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). He specifically underlined the importance of the right of parents to educate their children according to their religious beliefs. The 2017 report of PACE titled “The protection of the rights of parents and children belonging to religious minorities” for which Mr. Ghiletchi was the rapporteur, called Member States to introduce the concept of reasonable accommodation in education. By this term, we mean an adjustment in the education systems to accommodate the beliefs of parents who belong to religious or other minorities.
Leo van Doesburg spoke on the role of the EU in deciding on education policies taken at a member state level. He underlined that under Articles 2-6 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union, the Member States are responsible for their education policies. The EU has the mandate to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of Member States. However, it does not have the competence to change the legislation of the Member States or pressure them to change it.