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ERASMUS for All – EU’s super programme for 2014-2020

On 23 November, the European Commission released its much-awaited proposal (in the form of a communication) for the architecture of the next generation of EU programmes in education and training. While the idea of a mega programme had already been tested and announced in a number of fora, the name of the future programme came as a surprise. Giving up the tentative title Education Europe publicised several months ago (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, July 2011), the new programme will in the end leverage the name of the most successful European Union mobility scheme to date – ERASMUS – and will be called ERASMUS for All. The inclusive reference in the title is to suggest that the new programme encompasses, unlike the original ERASMUS, all levels of education, as well as the cooperation efforts with third countries, particularly those in the EU’s neighbourhood region.

The new proposal is based on the belief that economies of scale will improve efficiency and systemic impact by reducing administrative costs and increasing flexibility, both in terms of funds management and access. The new programme promises to reduce the number of supported activities from the current number - 75 - to 11, and to enhance synergies with other streams of EU funding. It will concentrate on initiatives of a transnational nature and character, leaving the Structural Funds to support national or regional initiatives and the future Marie Curie to cater for researchers’ mobility, as well as for the organisation of joint degrees at the doctoral level.

ERASMUS for All will be based on 3 Key Actions, preserving in addition the Jean Monnet initiative and the Sport component as two separate parts under the broader programme umbrella. International cooperation will no longer be dealt with separately, but will be integrated in all activities to be organised under the 3 Key areas, while the funds will be allocated in line with the priorities of EU’s external action service.

The 3 Key Actions are as follows: 
  • Key Action 1: Learning mobility of individuals, to fund: staff mobility; student mobility (both in higher education and VET), including joint and double degrees and traineeships; the ERASMUS Master for degree mobility, which will be possible through a new loan guarantee scheme; and youth mobility, both in EU and non-EU countries. 
  • Key Action 2: Cooperation for innovation and good practices, which will include: strategic partnerships between HEIs and other actors; partnerships between academia and industry (to be known as ‘Strategic Alliances’); IT support platforms, particularly to facilitate virtual mobility; and capacity building in third countries. 
  • Key Action 3: Support for policy reform, which should facilitate evidence-based policy making, through support for: open methods of coordination and the European semester; EU tools for valorisation and implementation; and policy dialogue.

The Communication also presents some preliminary budgetary provisions. The first key activity, dedicated to supporting international mobility, would receive 63% of all the programme funds, while the budget for initiatives in the field of higher education and VET should almost double compared to current levels (increasing by 85-95%). One of the major changes related to future implementation is the proposal to have just one national agency (NA) in each participating country in charge of managing the programme. This is not current practice in most member states.

The Commission’s proposal will be now discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers of the European Union.

European Commission