The EU Commission proposes to double the funds for the Erasmus+ programme
The Erasmus programme, which has to date enabled more than 9 million students, learners, apprentices and volunteers to experience in their everyday life the impact of the European integration process is still considered one the most successful initiatives for strengthening awareness about European citizenship. The biggest majority of those taking part in the programme agree in defining it as a life-changing experience which has increased their language competences, academic and professional skills as well as their open-mindedness.
Many members of the European Commission themselves are former students which benefitted of the first exchange agreements launched in 1987 and are enthusiastic supporters of this opportunity.
Unfortunately, the number of people having the chance to spend a period abroad is still too low if compared to the total population of students: few agreements, places and financial obstacles often discourage from application.
In order to address this problem, on May the 2nd, the European Commission has presented the long-term budget proposal for the 2021-2027, which contains the ambitious commitment to double funding for the Erasmus+ programme.
The financial provision could include expense provision for the exchange programme up to 30 billion: 25,9 billion for education and training, 3,1 for youth and 550 million for sport.
This increase would allow to triplicate the number of enrolled students, including people from disadvantaged backgrounds and learners in vocational and educational training as well as adult learning staff .
The strenghtening of the Erasmus programme is a cornerstone of the bigger project of establishing a European Education Area by 2025, whose main objective is to harness the full potential of education and culture as drivers for job creation, economic growth and social fairness as well as a means to boost integration and experience European identity.
Beside improving mobility, language learning and teachers support, the ambitions outlined during the First European Education Summit held in Brussels in January include the mutual recognition of diplomas, the promotion of lifelong learning and the creation of a network of European universities.
The Commission is soliciting a swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget no later than 2019 in order to provide a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2019) and the new one and ensure continuity and predictability of funding to the benefit of all.
The decision to double funding – though being far from the 10 times increase demanded by the Lifelonf Learning Platform and supported, among others by the European Digital Learning Network (heck here), could be an important step forward towards making Erasmus+ a right for all and disseminate innovative educational, teaching, learning and digital skills models.