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On 20 February, the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) voted on the legislative report Erasmus: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport 2021–2027. The main provisions contained in the report focus on tripling the budget to EUR 45 billion, making the new Erasmus+ more inclusive and tightening links with other EU programmes.
The rapporteur, Milan Zver (EPP, SI), stated that the main objective is “to create a more accessible Erasmus for every EU citizen, regardless of their socio-economic background”. The chair of the CULT Committee, Petra Kammerevert (S&D, DE), underlined that the new Erasmus+ must be non-discriminatory and barrier-free, and “truly open to everyone”.
An increased budget would help cover three main initiatives contained in the proposal for the new Erasmus+, namely the European Universities, the Centres of Vocational Excellence and the DiscoverEU activities. It should also enable to foster the actions of the current programme in the area of mobility in higher education, youth, adult learning, sport and language learning. Zver also noted that the CULT Committee achieved a “broad support of political groups for a common position of the EP”, which will be fundamental during the negotiations with the European Commission and the Council.
Calls for increasing the inclusiveness of the future Erasmus programme came also from members of the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR), during a meeting with EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics on 6 February. The CoR adopted an opinion, presented by Ulrike Hiller (PES, DE), stressing the need to ensure equal access to education regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation and to “facilitate physical mobility for disadvantaged people”. Whether the future Erasmus will truly be more inclusive is still too early to predict, but negotiations seem to be well on track.