BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) is very glad to hear that the European Parliament has adopted today, with a great majority, a new programme for education and youth, referred to as Erasmus+.
“We believe that the big majority of votes that were cast in favour of the proposal show an important level of commitment from the European Parliament to higher education and student mobility throughout Europe. We also welcome the increased funds for Erasmus+, when compared to the previous programmes for education and youth. We think the programme is a very positive achievement, especially in light of the overall decrease of the EU budget for the next multiannual financial framework,” says Rok Primozic, Chairperson of ESU.
Many constructive elements are included in the new proposal and ESU is especially pleased with its new approach to students with disabilities and from lower socio-economic backgrounds, enhancing student mobility to a large extent. The new programme also provides continued support from the EU to educational stakeholders and their initiatives.
“These initiatives are at the heart of the development of higher education and should be lauded as such. The programme will be more streamlined than it used to be, which we hope will make it easier for everyone to follow or understand. Another positive feature is the inclusion of new non-EU states in the programme. Countries from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership will now be able to apply for general Erasmus funds. This is something ESU had put a strong emphasis on and we are happy that the EU has been willing to extend the programme beyond the EU’s external frontiers,” says Primozic.
Although ESU is in general very happy with the programme and believes it will have a positive impact on higher education in Europe, it is displeased that the proposal for a European Master Loan Guarantee Facility has not been withdrawn.
“The budget that is allocated to the loan scheme and the amount of marketing that will be used to support this initiative is questionable, to say the least. It will set a highly negative precedence for the funding of mobility and education programmes, not to mention a possible brain drain across regions in Europe. However, it is still important to remember that this is still a quite small part of the Erasmus+ budget. The overall achievements in the programme that are aimed at students are very much in the interest of students,” says Primozic.
ESU believes it is important that the new programme will be implemented properly in the EU member states and that stakeholders will be included in preparing its users’ guide.
“This process must be followed-up if the programme is to be successful. We have seen lately that some of the member states, such as Spain, have been cutting additional funds that were meant to enhance a wide-ranging student mobility. We sincerely hope that this will not happen again,” says Primozic.
The European Commission has estimated that around two million students in higher education will be able to benefit from this programme, giving them the opportunity to study or seek experience in another country. Erasmus+ will be in effect during the financial period 2014-2020, as part of the newly adopted seven year financial framework of the EU. For general information about the new Erasmus+ programme, please see the following press release issued by the European Commission.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.