"From formal and non-formal education to youth and sports - all EU funds in these fields will be consolidated as from 2014", said Doris Pack MEP, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education and Rapporteur on Erasmus+, before the plenary vote on Tuesday afternoon.
"The success story of European politics can continue and develop", she continued. The established programmes have been preserved and improved: "Erasmus students will be given more flexibility with their studies abroad. In a pilot-phase, Master students may apply for a loan to finance their studies. The Comenius Programme and the online portal eTwinning will be strengthened and will be the basis for all school partnerships”, Pack said.
"And with the Grundtvig Programme, it will be easier for adult education centres to maintain partnerships with other organisations in adult education over the internet."
The Erasmus+ package will apply for the period 2014-2020. It includes the following: university programmes Erasmus (for students) and Jean Monnet (for international university cooperation), educational programmes Comenius (for pupils up to higher secondary school), Leonardo da Vinci (for trainees), Grundtvig (for adult education) and Youth in Action. There will also be a separate sports sponsorship for the first time: "As the EU is now capable of doing more in the sports sector thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, I am glad that we can now start with the promising approaches in the coming years with Erasmus+.”
Doris Pack highlighted the great success of Youth in Action and the accompanying European Voluntary Service recalling that the repeatedly-demanded Erasmus for Apprentices already exists: "The Leonardo da Vinci Programme has been around since 1995 and it has been a great success. We are not starting from zero in the fight against youth unemployment and our efforts for training, mobility and the coming together of the Europeans, but we have to take care of the existing programmes and fund them adequately."
The EPP Group MEP is happy with the significant increase of the total budget to nearly €14.8 billion, but referred to the temporary financial gaps: "Our problem so far has been that funds that had already been granted have simply not been paid by the Member States. Council must ensure that this does not happen again in the future."
Note to editors
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 275 Members from 27 Member States.