In May of this year, the European Commission published its Proposal for a Regulation relating to the successor of the present Erasmus+ Programme. In preparation of its own position, the “rapporteur” for the proposed Regulation of the European Parliament’s CULT Committee came out with a text which proposes amendments to the Commission Proposal. The “rapporteur”, the Slovenian MEP Milan Zver, does not mince his words. Polite in style, the man still explains his position in no uncertain terms. The clear prose of the concluding three pages, which sum up the main points, is an example how political texts should be phrased (and sadly rarely are).
Zver’s messages are a mix of praise and criticism. On the positive side, he welcomes that the basic architecture of the predecessor is to be kept, with only little modifications (“evolution, not revolution”). The changes - the demise of the Student Loan Guarantee and the adding on of the “European Universities” - find his approval. He also welcomes the focus on “inclusion” and on “simplification”, although he makes it clear that the Commission Proposal says pretty little on how both aims are to be achieved. He argues for the “disadvantaged” who are to benefit from inclusion to get an earmarked slice of the budget. And he feels “disadvantage” should be more closely defined, mainly as economically and socially weak.
Zver’s strongest criticism relates to the budget. He acknowledges that the Commission proposes a de factorise of the funds available of nearly 93%. But he points out that the proposal foresees a trebling of the number of beneficiaries compared to the present programme. His conclusion: there will be lower funding per head. How will this go together with attracting the disadvantaged? Only by ring-fencing ‘their’ budget. Beyond that, he asks for a trebling of the present budget.
The Zver report is not yet the official position of the Parliament. But it is highly likely that the Parliament’s official position will be very close to it.
More information here