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Joint BUDG-CULT meeting on making Erasmus+ accessible to people with fewer opportunities

On Monday 11 March 2024 an extraordinary joint meeting between the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) and the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) took place with the aim of exchanging on the topic of making the Erasmus+ programme accessible to people with fewer opportunities, reflecting on existing and future practices for widening access. 

In the backdrop of the discussions a comprehensive overview highlighted the current efforts to broaden the reach of Erasmus+, including the introduction of a new framework for inclusion and diversity, as well as Member States’ action plans on inclusion and the introduction of more accessible formats, such as small-scale partnerships and short-term mobilities. Promising data currently show that the share of participants with fewer opportunities has increased from 10% in 2021 to 13% in 2022, with the figure for 2023 estimated to be around 15%.  

The ensuing dialogue between BUDG and CULT members highlighted various aspects of the programme's execution, such as the relationship between the level of the grants and the number of participants, the possibility of synergies with other programmes and the comparatively low level of participants with fewer opportunities, while the discussion also turned to challenges, notably the implications of inflation on accessibility for those already at a disadvantage. Through this joint BUDG-CULT meeting, the EU commitment to inclusivity and equal educational opportunities was reaffirmed, emphasising the ongoing efforts of enhanced accessibility within the Erasmus+ programme. 

In a  separate meeting, the CULT committee members held an exchange of views with the Commissioner Iliana Ivanova who has presented recent and upcoming activities, while the CULT members raised several issues, mostly related to the underfinancing of the programme compared to its ambitions.