By / June 20, 2017

‘Erasmus+’: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport

Young people want to know more about Erasmus+ and are asking for information on mobility opportunities so that they can…

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Young people want to know more about Erasmus+ and are asking for information on mobility opportunities so that they can enhance their skills and improve their job prospects. They frequently pose questions to the European Parliament to find out what support the EU provides for youth training and education.

Legal framework

Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are the basis for EU action in education, vocational training, youth and sport.  The role of the EU in these areas is to support and complement the actions of the Member States, while fully respecting their responsibility for the content and organisation of their own national systems.

Under Article 14 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, ‘Everyone has the right to education and to have access to vocational and continuing training’.

From several programmes to a single umbrella programme, Erasmus +

Yellow road sign with text vocational education.
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Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, adopted on 11 December 2013, established ‘Erasmus+’: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport.

Launched on 1 January 2014, the programme runs until 31 December 2020. It combines and integrates all the previous financing mechanisms, implemented by the EU up to 2013: the Lifelong Learning Programme, Comenius (school education), Erasmus (higher education), Leonardo da Vinci (education and vocational training), Grundtvig (adult education); the Youth in Action Programme; five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the bilateral cooperation programme with industrialised countries); the Jean Monnet sub-programme, which now becomes Jean Monnet Activities, and also includes support for sport for the first time.

The European Parliament resolution, adopted on 2 February 2017, on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013, stresses, inter alia, that ‘while the first two and a half years of programme implementation were difficult and challenging, improvements have been made in the meantime, although simplifications introduced through the one-size-fits-all approach have in many cases had an adverse effect’. The report also points out that the previous programme names should continue to be used alongside that of Erasmus+, to make things clearer for applicants.

Opportunities for everyone

Erasmus+ offers opportunities to everyone: students, staff, trainees, teachers, volunteers, and others. It is also not just available to Europe and Europeans: the programme offers these opportunities to participants from all over the world.

More information is available, in the Individuals section of the European Commission website, about the opportunities for people of all ages to develop and share knowledge and experience in institutions and organisations in various countries. The Organisations section provides assistance for organisations, which, if they intend to participate in the programme, are required to engage in a series of development and networking activities.

As part of the new integrated approach, for organisations wishing to take part in the programme, Erasmus+ is divided into three key actions: (1) Learning mobility for individuals, (2) Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, and (3) Support for policy reform. A further two special activities are included: Jean Monnet and Sport activities, which are not part of the key actions.

30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme

On 13 June 2017, in plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament held a 30th anniversary celebration for the Erasmus programme, including an award ceremony, at which Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani, and European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, welcomed 33 Erasmus participants from each country taking part in the programme. The celebrations included an exhibition on Erasmus+, as well as debates on the future of the programme. To mark the 30 years of Erasmus, the Commission also launched a Mobile App, which facilitates administrative procedures and integration of beneficiaries throughout their Erasmus+ stay.

Parliamentary questions

MEPs’ questions to the European Commission on the subject of Erasmus include: E‑001234-2017 (Erasmus for apprentices); P-002639-2017 (Erasmus+ schools funding); E‑002073-2017 (Erasmus+ programme for overseas students); E-002363-2017 (Need to include journalists and the media as part of information and awareness-raising on the EU); E‑002842-2016 (Traineeship mobility in Europe); E-005667-2016 (Legal protection for Erasmus students).

Further information

A number of European Parliament publications on Erasmus+ are available on the Think Tank website of the European Parliament. General information is available in the European Parliament’s fact sheets on youth.

The Education and Youth section of the Your Europe website and the European Youth Portal website provide further information on EU youth programmes.


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