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European Council: partial agreement on new generation of EU programmes

EU Ministers of Education, Science and Culture met in Brussels on 14-15 November and discussed the future of the Community programmes in the fields of education and training, audiovisual, culture and youth. The Council reached in all cases a partial political agreement concerning all non-budgetary issues. However, the texts approved are still subject to a second reading by the European Parliament and their budgetary aspects depend on the outcome of the negotiations for the Financial Perspectives 2007-2013, for which an agreement is expected in December. The final budget and its breakdown will therefore be treated in a future Council meeting, including an increase of 757 € million voted by the EP for the overall budget of Lifelong Learning Programme.

Concerning Education, the Council agreed that:

  • The new Integrated Life-long Learning Programme will comprise 4 of the current Socrates subprogrammes: Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig. Transversal activities will be included across them: and a Jean Monnet Programme will support activities in the field of European institutions and integration. Former actions Minerva, Lingua and ECTS-related activities will no longer be independent headings under Socrates.
  • Following the Comission's proposal, Ministries will not be allowed to act as National Agencies, which will need to have independent legal personality.
  • Centralised projects involving over 1 € million Community funds will be subject to the management procedure.

The implementation of the new regulations is currently being negotiated by stakeholders inside the individual member states and between the members states and the European Commission. If no budgetary agreement is reached under the UK presidency, it is likely that there will be a delay of the programme start, with a transition period in 2007.

Council Press Release