THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
welcomes the general aim of supporting the personal, training and professional development of people in the areas of education, including non-formal education, and training and higher education in Europe and beyond, in order to contribute to sustainable growth, employment and social cohesion and a stronger European identity; this important task begins on the ground at the local and regional level and therefore needs to be closely linked to the European level;
welcomes the fact that the Commission proposes doubling the Programme's budget, but considers that the target of tripling the number of participants in the programme given the current conditions and the aim of increased social inclusiveness, will be difficult to achieve. In future, it would also be desirable for the growing administrative burden of the Programme to be eliminated;
calls for a transparent, equitable distribution of resources over the entire seven-year period so that – in particular at the beginning of the programming period – funds can be increased and expectations of the Programme can be met;
regrets that the Programme will be called "Erasmus" rather than "Erasmus+". The CoR points out that appropriate measures must be taken to ensure the visibility of the various areas of education or funding, in order to guarantee that the "Erasmus" brand becomes associated with all areas of education and training, as well as with the area of youth and sport;
suggests giving consideration to a "European firm" award, in order to increase firms' and businesses' motivation to make their apprentices and their training more open to "Europe" by using the opportunities offered by Erasmus; also suggests to this effect that the Commission create a register of firms taking part in the Erasmus programme, which could be given the label of "Erasmus firm";
welcomes that the new "DiscoverEU" programme will give young people aged 18 and over the chance to discover EU countries by train for a limited time period; points out, however, that, although the programme in question should have a strong learning component, this should not come at the expense of opportunities for learning mobility, which should remain the core business of the Erasmus programme; stresses that it would be desirable for all young people in the EU to have this opportunity to encounter and discover its diversity, culture, nature and people, regardless of their parents' financial position; suggests giving consideration to financing via public-private partnerships, particularly with partners from the mobility and tourism sector.