Culture and Education

About the Culture Education and Sport Committee

The Cult Committee as it is known encompasses Culture Education and Sport, and Andrew is the European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) Group spokesman on this important committee.  As a County Council Leader from 2009 until 2013 Andrew was also the Cabinet Member for Culture at Derbyshire County Council and the Local Government Association (LGA) Culture, Tourism and Sport Board Lead member.  So Andrew brings considerable experience to this role. 

Priorities

Conservative MEPs have welcomed the new EU Commission's focus on jobs, growth and better regulation and will work hard to see them delivered. As UK Conservative spokesman for Culture and Education, Andrew is keen to ensure that this focus is equally high on the agenda of the European Parliament's Culture and Education committee.

Working closely with UK and ECR colleagues, Andrew aims to ensure that UK taxpayers get value for money when it comes to EU spending on culture, education, media and sports programmes. With commitments across these fields totalling more than €153billion, your Conservative team in the European Parliament perform a key role in scrutinising how, where and when this significant slice of the EU budget is spent

Education

Conservative MEPs continue to defend culture and education policy as the sovereign domain of Member States, but support improved cooperation and knowledge sharing across the EU where it provides genuine "added value''. 

The Erasmus Plus programme - which aims to boost skills and employability, whilst modernising education and training - is a good example. With UK business giving British graduates a ''could do better'' score in foreign languages and cultural awareness, Andrew acknowledges the value of the Erasmus study abroad programme as a tool to better prepare young people for a competitive global marketplace. 

The British economy, and society as whole, benefits from cooperation across the European university sector. As a university governor back home in Derbyshire, Andrew has worked with the sector to underline this, notably in recent negotiations over the EU Horizon 2020 research funding programme.

In addition, Conservatives are helping young people get the most out of the EU by supporting comparability of standards in higher education qualifications across EU Member States; promoting the development of more high quality apprenticeship opportunities; and backing more links between EU businesses and further education providers. 

This is to ensure that post-16 vocational education and training across the EU develops the right skill sets for growth and jobs.

Culture and Creativity

The cultural and creative industries employ some 14 million people across the EU and are some of the fastest growing sectors of the British economy. They need a vocal champion in Brussels and, with his extensive experience in the sector, Andrew works hard make their voice heard.

Andrew also recognises the negative impact of digital piracy on value and employment in the creative and cultural sectors and seeks to uphold artists' rights to be rewarded for their work. In parallel, Conservative colleagues across the European Parliament continue to support efforts to modernise the EU's intellectual property laws, particularly in the area of copyright, in order to render them fit for the digital age, whilst backing fair and lawful access for consumers.

Some things, however, can still be done better at home. With a budget of € 1 205 million for 2014-2020, Creative Europe and its MEDIA sub-programme, will be carefully monitored by Conservative MEPs to ensure that both the programme, and the Executive Agency that administers it, provide genuine added value. 

Andrew is even more sceptical about Europe for Citizens, a funding programme to support democratic engagement and civic participation across the EU. Whilst some aspects are popular the in UK, such as Town Twinning, the programme’s wider remit as a promotional vehicle for EU values means its spending will continue to be a focus of scrutiny.

Sport

Since Labour handed over further powers in the form of the Lisbon Treaty, sport has become another area of partial EU competence, with the risk of further ‘creep’ being significant. Indeed, the second EU Work Plan for Sport covers everything from good governance to health-enhancing physical activity.

Nevertheless, Conservatives have welcomed the inclusion of funding for grassroots sports projects and for key cross-border challenges, such as the fight against match-fixing and doping. 

We have also led on a joint motion calling for fundamental reform of FIFA and complete integrity in sport, whilst remaining alert to further EU intrusion into an area that can, and must, remain one of Member State competence.