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Erasmus+ aims for 10m more participants in 2021-27

The new Erasmus+ Program, running from 2021-27, will be more digital, inclusive and innovative, as well as greener, the European Commission has said following a provisional agreement with the European Parliament and EU Member States.

ErasmusEurope's "emblematic" Erasmus+ program will have a budget of more than €26 billion between 2021-27. Photo: Unsplash

The provisional agreement will be submitted to EU member states for endorsement

The Erasmus+ program will aim to reach 10 million people over the next seven years, while the program’s budget for the period will exceed €26 billion – made up of €24.5 billion in current prices and an additional top-up of €1.7 billion in 2018 prices.

“The new, larger program for the period 2021-2027 focuses on inclusion”

The Eramus+ program will also be key to achieving the European Education Area by 2025, according to the EC.

“Erasmus+ is one of our flagship programs,” said Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.

“Over the last three decades, participation in Erasmus+ has boosted the personal, social and professional development of over 10 million people, almost half of them between 2014 and 2020.

“With almost double the budget for the next programming period, we will now work to reach 10 million more over the next seven years.”

By increasing the numbers of participants before 2027, the EC hopes to provide opportunities to a “more diverse” group of learners, including those with fewer opportunities – such people with disabilities, migrants and EU citizens living in remote areas – and school pupils.

“The new, larger program for the period 2021-2027 focuses on inclusion,” said the German federal minister of education and research, Anja Karliczek.

“It enables us to support new initiatives and attract an even greater number of participants. We want to generate enthusiasm for Europe.”

“We want to generate enthusiasm for Europe”

Students in higher, general, vocational, adult and non-formal education will have access to the program, as will small scale and grassroots organisations.

Virtual learning and measures such as language support, preparatory visits, training and virtual cooperation will strength participation for those people unable to take part in in-person mobility programs.

Erasmus+ will also support flagship EC initiatives, such as European Universities, Erasmus Teacher Academies, Centres of Vocational Excellence and DiscoverEU.

With the announcement, Europe is “ready for the next for the next and bigger Erasmus generations”, said EC vice-president Margaritis Schinas.

“Erasmus is Europe’s most emblematic program, the jewel in our crown. The Erasmus generations represent the essence of our European way of life. Unity in diversity, solidarity, mobility, support for Europe as an area of peace, freedom and opportunities.”

The provisional agreement will now be submitted to EU member states’ ambassadors for endorsement, and Erasmus+ regulation for 2021-2027 will be adopted at a later stage.

Eyes are on European and UK Brexit negotiations as to whether British students will still have opportunities to study on the Erasmus+ program, and vice-versa for European students.

Negotiations were extended once again on December 13, when another deadline passed.

“We will have to wait and see until this is officially confirmed, but if we were out of Erasmus I would deeply regret that,” Vivienne Stern, director of the international arm of Universities UK, told POLITICO earlier this week.

“Erasmus has been a triumph of a program and has given the UK a huge amount. But I’m very pleased that the UK has got contingency arrangements which I believe will be put in place swiftly.”

Last week, UK cabinet minister Michael Gove claimed on the BBC’s Today program that UK students would have access to the Eramus program under a no-deal Brexit “for a period”.

Gove later clarified in the House of Commons that those UK students “currently engaged on the Erasmus programs will continue to be part of them until the end of that academic course”.

“The path may be very narrow but it is there”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has suggested a “very narrow” path remains for the two parties to reach a deal ahead of January 1, when the transition period ends.

“As things stand, I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not, but I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now,” she said.

“The path may be very narrow but it is there. And it is therefore our responsibility to continue trying.”

Negotiators have found a way forward “on most issues”, von der Leyen noted, adding that “the next few days are going to be decisive”.

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