In the presence of Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, CoR members adopted today the draft opinion by PES Group member Ulrike Hiller, Member of Bremen Senate (Germany), on the future Erasmus programme for education, training, youth and sport.
The European Commission proposes to double the funds for the programme period 2021-2027 to €30 billion across all sectors of education, including higher education, vocational training and adult education – and to introduce simpler application rules. In this way, the Commission expects to triple the number of participants, bringing them up to 12 million people.
Addressing the Commissioner, Ulrike Hiller welcomed the increased budget for the programme, but stressed the need to generate multiplier effects and to improve the inclusiveness of the programme to reach all age groups, social backgrounds and forms of education and training if the target of tripling the number of participants is to be met.
"The Erasmus programme enables millions of young Europeans to study, train or learn abroad, creating thereby links with other Europeans. Learning experience in another European country significantly boosts the development of future-oriented vocational skills and is closely associated with the development of a European identity. My main request is to make it more inclusive and accessible to everybody, and also give young people who are more disadvantaged the chance to profit from mobility and experience Europe".
"Erasmus has been a success story and it must be strengthened to give all young Europeans a chance to profit from mobility."
— PES European Committee of the Regions (@PES_CoR) February 6, 2019
In order to maximise the programme's outreach and support to mobility, Ulrike Hiller calls for the exemption of study grants from taxation as well as the regular revision and adjustment of simplified grants to the living and subsistence costs of the host region. Moreover, she argues that the total cost of participation for people with fewer opportunities should be covered by such grants.
Ulrike Hiller also underlines the importance of involving local and regional authorities in designing and implementing the measures foreseen by the programme and to take greater account of existing local and regional youth work bodies as potential beneficiaries.
The future programme will also focus on promoting forward-looking study fields such as renewable energy, climate change, and environmental engineering, and promote a European identity with a travel experience through the new DiscoverEU initiative, which will give young people opportunities to travel and discover Europe's cultural heritage and diversity.