Written by Sidonia Mazur, Denise Chircop;
Graphics by Christian Dietrich.
Erasmus+ is the European Union’s single programme encompassing action in the fields of education, training, youth and sport for the years 2014-2020 with a financial envelope just below €15 000 million. Erasmus+ comes under the budgetary heading ‘Smart and Inclusive Growth’.
The programme finances learning mobility for individuals, cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, policy reform, and the Jean Monnet sub-programme. The latter promotes European integration studies through centres of excellence, research, teaching and debates with a budget of €12 million.
Erasmus+ also includes an international dimension and therefore reinforces EU external action: by contributing towards the modernisation of higher education in neighbouring and enlargement countries; as well as by promoting international exchanges and volunteering for young people. The new programme replaced eight previous programmes: Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, ALFA III, Tempus and Edu-link.
More than four million individuals will benefit from the experience of moving to another country, among them 650 000 vocational education and training students and 500 000 young volunteers. Funds are also earmarked for a number of transnational projects linking education and training institutions, private enterprises and the public sector to enhance cooperation. Each project receives between €500 000 and €1 million.
However, exchange does not depend solely on mobility. The European Youth Portal, EPALE, eTwinning and the School Education Gateway IT platforms were created and are kept updated to support transnational collaborative projects. Furthermore, policy-makers are supported through the exchange of best practice as well as by means of data collected by institutions such as the Eurydice network, Eurostat, CRELL and CEDEFOP, which make it possible for Member States to compare their performance against that of others.
Funded actions back European priorities in the areas of education, training and youth. They seek to facilitate new contacts, networks and synergies to encourage skills development, enhance young people’s employability, and foster their integration and participation in society.
Actions in favour of the European dimension in sport are a novelty under Erasmus+. The aim is to tackle threats to the integrity of sport, such as intolerance and discrimination, and to promote good governance, dual careers for athletes, voluntary activities, social inclusion, equal opportunities and health-enhancing physical activities.
Countries participate in Erasmus+ either as programme or partner countries. Member States are automatically programme countries but currently the group also includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey. Other countries from around the world can become partner countries on the basis of bilateral agreements.
The European Parliament monitors the implementation of Erasmus+ with initiative reports, regular hearings and the publication of studies. It also defended the programme’s budget, both at the time of its adoption, and during the latest round of budgetary negotiations.
Read the complete briefing on ‘How the EU budget is spent: Erasmus+‘.