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On 26 January, the European Commission released three reports on the EU’s celebrated funding programme for education, training, youth and sport. These include a report on the first year of implementation of the new Erasmus+ programme (2014-2021), a report on mobility in the final year of the Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013) before it was rebranded as Erasmus+, and a follow-up report to the Erasmus Impact Study on the regional effects of mobility.
The new Erasmus+ funding programme combining seven previous programmes into one was launched in 2014 with a 40% increase in the budget compared to the previous period, and intends to send over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. The European Commission noted with satisfaction that the programme got off to a good start, as the figures show that in its first year Erasmus+ already provided about 650 000 individual mobility grants. In 2014 the programme supported 400 000 higher education and vocational students' exchanges, 100 000 volunteers and youth workers pursuing projects abroad, as well as 150 000 teachers, youth trainers and other staff who received mobility grants to gain new skills abroad. It also supported over 1700 cooperation projects across the education, training and youth sectors and 212 projects to improve the excellence of European Studies programmes.
A separate report on the mobility numbers in the academic year 2013/2014 under the former Erasmus LLP shows that a record number of people were supported by an Erasmus grant in the final year of the programme. A total of 272 497 students, trainees and higher education staff benefitted from support in the final year, a 2% increase compared to the previous year. There was no change in the most popular destination countries for students, as Spain, Germany and France again welcomed the largest numbers of incoming students while also sending the most outgoing students.