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A changed Erasmus Mundus to be adopted soon

The European Commission current Erasmus Mundus programme is coming to its end in December 2008. The ‘new’ Erasmus Mundus is to run from 2009 to 2013. The Commission has reviewed the programme structure, actions and objectives on the basis of a number of programme evaluations and consultations. While the main objectives of the programme – enhancing the attractiveness of European higher education and promoting dialogue and understanding – remain key, a third objective has been added: the new programmes aims also at promoting the EU’s external policy objectives and sustainable development of higher education outside of Europe. In terms of action lines, the most important changes regard: the inclusion of joint doctoral programmes, with related scholarships; more and better scholarships for participating EU students and the possible inclusion of non-European institutions as partners in the delivery of joint programmes. The programme budget is to rise significantly from EUR 230 million to around EUR 950 million. However, as the new programme involves several new action lines the increase per action remains relatively modest.

The Commission proposal has already been adopted by the EU member states through the Council of Ministers and is now being discussed in the European Parliament. The main amendments proposed by the MEPs concern: the adoption of anti brain-drain tools for cooperation with developing countries; creation of special visas to facilitate students’ intra-European movement and an earlier decision on scholarship allocations to be effectively able to compete for the best students in the world. A further point of discussion has evolved around the introduction of joint tuition fees for the Erasmus Mundus master's programmes, which need to be left more flexible to respect the legal restrictions on tuition fees in some countries. The consolidated text is expected to be adopted by the Parliament by the end of the year and the first call for proposals would be launched in the first quarter of 2009.

European Commission