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Parliamentary questions
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27 April 2021
Answer given by Mr Schmit
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000771/2021

The European Skills Agenda(1) underlines that upskilling opportunities should be available across the whole EU, including in rural and remote areas.

Equal access to quality, digitised education and training everywhere in the EU is the aim of the Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027(2), pursued through a number of actions. It announces a Council Recommendation, addressing among other things gaps in connectivity and equipment.

The Connecting Europe Facility(3) supports investment in connectivity, including the provision of very high-quality local wireless connectivity in local communities, free of charge and without discriminatory conditions. The communication ‘2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the digital decade’(4) proposes EU targets on connectivity s to ensure that all European households are covered, including in remote areas, and fosters actions so that citizens have the necessary skills to benefit from the opportunities offered by new technology .

Member States are preparing plans to use the EUR  672.5 billion of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to address the country-specific recommendations under the European Semester, support the digital and green transitions, enhance cohesion and tackle the rural/urban digital divide. One of seven flagship areas(5), ‘Reskill and upskill’, promotes inclusive education and training for all ages, adapted to develop digital skills. Moreover, the European Social Fund Plus is able to invest in digital skills of people across the EU.

The forthcoming Communication on a long-term vision for rural areas will aim at enhancing synergies among the different policies, including skills, to support rural areas.

(1)COM(2020) 274 final.
(2)COM(2020) 624 final.
(3)COM(2018) 438 final.
(4)COM(2021) 118 final.
(5)1. Power up, 2) Renovate, 3) Recharge and Refuel, 4) Connect, 5) Modernise, 6) Scale-up and 7) Reskill and upskill.
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