Abstract The present paper draws on European Union (EU) policies for Lifelong Learning, through thorough review of policy papers. Adopting an interpretative approach, it seeks to define trends and detect interrelations between EU education policy and developments in the context of European enlargement, as well as global socioeconomic mandates. Ambitious objectives set at the Lisbon Council, in 2000, legitimised enforcement of a coherent European education policy. Hence, in alignment with the Lisbon Strategy mandates (since 2010, renewed as “Education and Training 2020”), widening access and raising adult participation in education throughout lifespan emerged as a major component of sustainable economic growth and social cohesion reinforcement, so as to allow Europe to retain its strong global role.

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