The rapporteur

Later in the afternoon the Committee debated and adopted a major opinion on the role of education in combating poverty and social exclusion. The rapporteur, Maria Candelas Sanchez Miguel (Employees, Spain), looked at the various ways in which education and training could help people to be free, independent and capable of contributing to the development of their society: ‘The reasons for choosing inclusive education are both educational and social,’ she said, ‘so as to help change mentalities and build societies free from exclusion, prejudice and discrimination. Inclusive education is also necessary for economic reasons, because it helps to increase competitiveness in the face of new economic challenges and new labour demands,’ she continued. The opinion provides an intellectual platform for the EESC’s forthcoming biennial conference on the theme of ‘Education to combat social exclusion’ (20-22 May, Florence).