The Erasmus+ Programme Has Grown Richer!

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With a refreshed Erasmus+ budget of €26.2 billion, compared to €14.7 billion for the period 2014-2020, (and further complemented with about €2.2 billion from EU's external partners), the new and revamped Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027 will fund learning mobilities and cross-border cooperation projects for 10 million Europeans of all ages and all backgrounds.

Erasmus+ has been in existence since 2014, with a plethora of activities for students and learners in Europe. This highly respected education programme is ranked by Europeans as the EU's third most positive result. Over the last three decades, more than 10 million people have participated in the programme, in 33 countries (countries from the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). 

Altering the budget of the programme also means adjustment to the programme’s targets and priorities. The allocated budget for the 2021-2027 period (which is much larger than the previous 2014-2020 budget) will support wider and increased participation, but, in case you were wondering, it won’t triple the number of participants to 12 million people. This was the target initially set by the European Commission for the new 2021-2027 programme.

The new Erasmus+ programme provides opportunities for study periods abroad, traineeships, apprenticeships, and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training, youth and sport. Erasmus+ 2021-2027 is open to school pupils, higher education and vocational education and training students, adult learners, youth exchanges, youth workers and sports’ coaches.

A key objective of the new Erasmus+ programme is reaching more young people from diverse backgrounds and increasing participation of underrepresented groups. The proposed budget is expected to boost the diversity of participation. However, reaching this objective will greatly depend on the initiatives established to ensure easier access and participation, through diversifying support and the formats of the mobilites. During the aftermath of COVID-19, it is especially crucial that the measures employed to ease the financial impact are sufficient and do not restrict opportunities for students and youths alike.

Actions such as the European Universities Initiative, DiscoverEU, small-scale partnerships, and partnerships between VET providers and other stakeholders, must come accompanied with a bigger budget to facilitate them. If not, it will lead to a de facto budget decrease for many areas of the programme that already exist.

In addition to mobility, which accounts for 70% of the budget, the new Erasmus+ programme will also invest in cross‑border cooperation projects. These could be between higher education institutions (e.g. the European Universities initiative); schools; teacher education and training colleges (e.g. Erasmus+ Teacher Academies); adult learning centres; youth and sport organisations; providers of vocational education and training (e.g. Vocational Centres of Excellence); and other players in the learning sphere.