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EU Commission proposal for Erasmus 2021-2027 is out

The much-awaited proposal of the European Commission (EC) for the next generation of the Erasmus programme came out on 30 May. As already indicated on 2 May in the EC Communication A Modern Budget for a Union that Protects, Empowers and Defends: The Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the proposed budget for the Erasmus programme is EUR 30 billion: double the amount of the current Erasmus+ programme (EUR 14,7 billion). On top of it, a further contribution will come from the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument and from the Instrument of Pre-Accession. But for those proposals, we will have to wait until 14 June.  

So far, so good. Doubling the allocation would indeed help achieving the objectives that the EC has set in the proposal for Erasmus, among which: reaching a European Education Area by 2025 and tripling the number of participants (up to 12 million) by making the programme as inclusive as possible. Moreover, the proposed programme is to be more accessible to organisations with little or no experience and limited organisational capacity, thanks to a specific action “small scale partnerships”. If this will result in a real simplification, it is to be seen.  The European Universities initiative is an integral part of the proposal as well, especially when it comes to future synergies with the new HorizonEurope Programme (the full proposal of which will be published on 7 June). 

Education and training is the part of the programme that is to be allocated the biggest share of the budget: EUR 24,94 billion. More specifically, higher education actions should be allocated 8,64 billion. 

The overall architecture of the programme will remain unchanged, with three main Key Actions for Education and Training: 

Learning Mobility (Key Action 1)

  • the mobility of higher education students and staff;
  • the mobility of vocational education and training learners and staff;
  • the mobility of school pupils and staff;
  • the mobility of adult education staff;
  • language learning opportunities, including those supporting mobility activities.

Cooperation among organisations and institutions (Key Action 2)

  • partnerships for cooperation and exchanges of practices, including small-scale partnerships to foster a wider and more inclusive access to the Programme;
  • partnerships for excellence, in particular European universities, Centres of vocational excellence and joint master degrees;
  • partnerships for innovation to strengthen Europe's innovation capacity;
  • online platforms and tools for virtual cooperation, including the support services for eTwinning and for the electronic platform for adult learning in Europe.

Support to policy development and cooperation (Key Action 3)

  • the preparation and implementation of the Union general and sectoral policy agendas in education and training, including with the support of the Eurydice network or activities of other relevant organisations;
  • the support of Union tools and measures that foster the quality, transparency and recognition of competences, skills and qualifications;
  • policy dialogue and cooperation with key stakeholders, including Union-wide networks, European non-governmental organisations and international organisations in the field of education and training;
  • measures that contribute to the qualitative and inclusive implementation of the Programme;
  • cooperation with other Union instruments and support to other Union policies;
  • dissemination and awareness-raising activities about European policy outcomes and priorities as well as on the Programme. 

Will the Erasmus budget really be doubled? This proposal is just the first step in a long “ping-pall match” between Council and Parliament, from which the proposed budget might come out considerably reduced. Many education practitioners think that the EC might and should much have been more ambitious than this. For the moment, we can just hope that the next Erasmus will not lose more than its “+”. 

Link to the full proposal