Erasmus+ has just been approved by the European Parliament!

After months of interinstitutional negotiations, the European Parliament approved the Commission’s amended proposal for Erasmus+, successor of the Lifelong Learning Programme. The new programme 2014-2020 should enter into force in 2014 after a final approval of the Council.

Today MEP Doris Pack (EPP, DE)’s report on the new Erasmus+ funding programme for education, training, youth and sport was finally adoptedby the European Parliament in plenary session in first reading. We would like to thank  the Rapporteur, shadow rapporteurs and their team as well as the political advisers for their hard work and commitment on this new generation of mobility and cooperation opportunities to advance lifelong learning.

The Committee for Culture and Education took the time necessary for the elaboration of a text of great quality, through a highly inclusive processinvolving a broad array of stakeholders and taking their concerns into account. The inclusion of a structural support to European civil society organisations in the legal basis is a great leap forward compared to the initial Commission’s proposal. We are now sure that the work they accomplished under the Lifelong Learning Programme is politically recognised and will be sustained in 2014-2020. Among other crucial elements that we supported, the upholding of sub-programmes and their brand name, the recognition of non-formal and informal learning and the acknowledgment of an individual, organisational and systemic impact of the programme have been introduced by the European Parliament.

Aimed at boosting skills, employability and supporting the modernisation of education, training and youth systems, the seven-year programme will have abudget of €14.7 billion1 – 40% higher than current levels. More than 4 million people will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, including 2 million higher education students650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, as well as more than 500 000 going on youth exchanges or volunteering abroad. Students planning a full Master’s degree abroad, for which national grants or loans are seldom available, will benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme run by the European Investment Fund. Erasmus+ will also provide funding for education and training staff, youth workers and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations.

The new Erasmus+ programme combines all the EU’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This will make it easier for applicants to understand the opportunities available, while other simplifications will also facilitate access.

We do hope the new programme will know as much success as its predecessor and allow millions of lifelong learners to enjoy the European experience.

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