Frequently Asked Questions
1. Our proposal in numbers.
AN: Greek public expenditure on education is 4,1 % (2011), compared to a Eurozone (EU-17) average of 5%. Our proposal supports the exclusion of the difference between the Eurozone average and the Greek average, namely 0,9%, from the estimation of the country’s public spending deficit. This aims in an increase in public expenditure in education.
2. Which are the financial sources for education investments? Do we need a new loan?
AN: Funds for this policy should derive from re-structuring public budgets, re-allocating budgets from European support frameworks, funding from the European Investment Bank, or even from specially designed loans from the European Stability Mechanism – ESM. The funds collected from each source not will not exceed 1% of their respective budgets and will be linked the completion of specific educational policy goals.
3. Where will these funds be directed to?
AN: The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training “Horizon 2020″ enables Member States to set qualitative and quantitative educational policy benchmarks according to their needs and their priorities. Each Member State, in cooperation with the EU, will allocate the funds in order to increase participation in scientific and technical studies, ensure equal access to ICT (Information and Communication Technology), develop skills for related to the knowledge society, promote multilingualism, promote education and training for teachers and trainers, and more.
4. Why should countries with sufficient investment in education support our initiative?
AN: Inequalities that derive from deficits in Member States’ national budgets will inevitably lead to huge differences in growth. This will function as a timer bomb placed in the foundations of Europe. Education spending cuts in 20 EU countries over the past three years have greatly affected Europe’s competitiveness which is directly linked to education and training, research and innovation. This is a clear example of a downward trend which must be stopped in order for Europe to compete with other continents in the education field. Our proposal for further investment in education by guaranteeing equal opportunities for learning for all young people in Europe, is a direct investment in Europe’s future.
5. If our proposal is accepted, how long will the exception of education expenditure from public deficit estimation stand?
AN: In order to exclude the difference of a Member State’s education spending from the respective EU average in the estimation of the Member State’s public spending budget, we suggest an initial implementation over a three-year period. We believe that this time frame is sufficient in order for each Member State to prove both its will and its ability to implement this practice and, of course to accomplish the goals described above.
6. Why is it that a similar request has never been submitted by any State or NGO?
AN: From 2009 onwards, policies that resulted in spending cuts in all public sectors, were often imposed rather than chosen by Member States, and education was always significantly affected. As a result, education investment per student is currently on a free fall in most EU countries, particularly in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Italy and Slovakia, and youth unemployment is rising. We believe that similar suggestions made in the past in the context of European councils lacked the right timing, and that, given the current urgency of the educational and unemployment issues described above, the Network’s initiative for investing in education comes at the exact right time.