Members of the European Parliament endorse today the result of nearly two years of negotiations for the €28 billion programme that has shaped the lives of millions of Europeans. The Socialists and Democrats have ensured that people of less financial means and people with disabilities will also enjoy full access to the Erasmus+ programme.
Petra Kammerevert MEP, S&D spokeswoman on the topic and negotiator for the file, said:
“It is a bold and important signal that the EU is almost doubling its investment in education in difficult times. Although further and bolder steps are still needed, this is a good start. Taking into account the contributions from all 33 participating Erasmus+ programme countries (EU 27 + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Republic of Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey), a total of €28 billion is available. The four priorities - inclusion, sustainability, digitisation and participation - address the most important challenges currently facing European development.
“What is particularly important to me is that Erasmus+ can experience the greatest growth thanks to the Social Democrats in the areas of vocational education and training, as well as in adult learning. We must now succeed in making it clearer that Erasmus+ really has something to offer; not only for high school students, but also for trainees, young adults, teachers and people involved in grassroots sports.
“Overall, the programme will become easier to implement: New actions include individual and class exchanges for school pupils, and also learning mobility opportunities for adults. Smaller organisations such as schools, youth associations and sports clubs will be able to apply more easily thanks to smaller partnerships and the use of simplified grants. The programme will also be more international to cooperate with third countries, building on the successes of the previous programme with exchanges and cooperation projects around the world, which will now be expanded to include sports and vocational education.”
Alicia Homs Ginel MEP, S&D responsible for the employment perspective, said:
“Erasmus+ has changed the lives of millions of young people over the last three decades, but the new, larger programme for the period 2021-2027 will be a turning point in terms of inclusion and more opportunities for learning mobility. S&D members of the committee on employment have worked so that opportunities are not reserved only for people who have more resources. The new Inclusion Chapter will finally enable people with fewer opportunities to participate in the programme in reality, regardless of the nature of their disadvantage and top-up grants, including up-front payments for those in need to pay for the initial costs being provided to attract the largest possible number of participants.
“We are today at a defining moment. Our labour markets have been addressing unprecedented challenges due to the twin green and digital transitions, and more particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to better adapt to these changes and the need to acquire new work and life skills, we pushed for reinforcing vocational education and training (VET) and extending the scope of the Erasmus+ to adult learners, who will be able to participate in mobility programmes from 2021.”
Note to editors:
Three new projects have been added:
* Firstly, the European universities, where cross-border learning networks of universities are to be strengthened in their cooperation in higher education in an even more targeted manner.
* In addition, European centres of excellence for vocational education and training are to be created; the first call for proposals is designed very openly; in the first round, training centres can apply by September 7 with project ideas that increase the quality of vocational education and training across borders; a total of €400 million will be available for this purpose alone over the next seven years.
* Finally, the idea of free Interrail tickets for young people has been incorporated into the programme, called ‘Discover EU’. With this offer, young people will be able to experience the benefits of Europe in the truest sense of the word for the first time without major hurdles.
New formats, such as blended learning, will allow short-term physical mobility abroad to be supplemented with online learning and online teamwork, but are only intended to replace it in absolutely exceptional cases. The implementation of the programme will be further digitalised and simplified with the full introduction of the European Student Card, hopefully by June 2022, as requested by the European Parliament.