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Europe on the Move – learning mobility opportunities for everyone

On 13 May 2024, the Council adopted a recommendation that seeks to promote the benefits of learning, studying or training abroad, both within the EU and outside. The recommendation, entitled ‘Europe on the Move’ – learning mobility opportunities for everyone, proposed a set of measures and targets to encourage greater take-up of learning mobility opportunities to be achieved at EU level by 2030. 

Overall, the Council took a more cautious approach, adjusting the targets proposed by the European Commission in a draft recommendation downward. Thus, at least 23% of graduates in higher education should have a learning mobility experience, reflecting a compromise between a 25% target proposed by the European Commission and the current 20% target established in the context of the Bologna process in 2009, and later at EU level. Similarly, at least 12% of learners in vocational education and training (VET) should benefit from learning mobility abroad, which is lower than the Commission’s proposed target of 15% but higher than the previous target of 8% set for 2025. 

While the current targets were primarily set for physical mobility, the adopted recommendation refers to the use of “a wider variety of mobility formats, including blended intensive programmes and short-term blended mobility” in the context of the Erasmus+ programme. As the Council instructed the Commission to provide an updated methodology for the higher education target, it would be highly important to ensure the related physical mobility targets are not brought down by the inclusion of new mobility formats in the formula. They should rather come on top of physical mobility (targets) to provide more inclusive access for a broader group of learners. Relatedly, special attention should be paid to ensuring the effective use and high quality of various blended mobility components, a topic explored under the HIBlend project 

In this context, it is important to highlight that according to the latest Bologna Implementation Report released at the EHEA Ministerial conference in Tirana (for more details, see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2024), only 10 of 43 EHEA countries registered a share of mobile graduates above 15% by 2020/2021, including France, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia, Lithuania and several small education systems (San Marino, Andorra, Luxembourg, and Cyprus), the latter surpassing the learning mobility benchmark of 20%. 

Furthermore, the Council has not yet agreed on a new official target for inclusion in the context of learning mobility, which was proposed by the European Commission (i.e., people with fewer opportunities accounting for at least 20% of all learners benefitting from mobility abroad). Reaffirming “its strong commitment to inclusive learning mobility and stating its political ambition to set a target in this respect”, the Council invited the Commission to propose a methodology to measure the share of people with fewer opportunities among all learners benefiting from learning mobility abroad, so that the Council can consider agreeing on a related EU-wide target. 

Since the launch of the current Erasmus+ programme, ACA members have been working on a more harmonised approach to national inclusion strategies in the context of transnational higher education as part of a dedicated thematic peer group. ACA aims at supporting the European Commission in its upcoming methodological work with the knowledge acquired from various activities including its Inclusion ACAdemy (for more details, see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2024).