Knowledge has become the key to economic competitiveness and success. An important part of an economy’s overall competitiveness – the ability to achieve success on markets – is labour-force competitiveness. One of the main determinants of the competitiveness of human resources is a country’s education system. The paper discusses EU activities related to achieving a move to a knowledge-based society and labour force competitiveness. After the introduction, a short theoretical framework is provided. The third part of the paper analyzes the situation in newly accepted EU members, in future members and in Croatia. After the assessment of some problems in Croatia, some proposals for improvements of the educational system are given.