The new €14 billion Erasmus+ education programme for 2014-2020, approved by the Culture and Education Committee on Tuesday, will enable over 5 million young people to go to other countries to study, train and join in voluntary activities including sport. In future, it will fund scholarships for non-university students, and back loan guarantees schemes for master's degree ones. It should also ensure that grants are paid faster.
"We have a very useful grouping of hitherto separate programmes, which nonetheless retains the characteristics of each. We have obtained many very useful results in the negotiations and I hope that this programme will be as successful as in the past" said rapporteur Doris Pack (EPP, DE).
Erasmus+ aims to help young people of 13 to 30 years old to get mobile in order to learn, study and acquire professional skills and aptitudes in a country other than their country of origin. In the field of education, training and youth, it will bring together Comenius, Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Leonardo da Vinci (vocational training), Grundtvig and Youth in Action. It also introduces sport, for the first time in a European programme. The existing brand names will be kept, as they are well known to the public.
Exchanges of leaders of youth clubs and volunteer activities will be eligible for Erasmus+ funding.
Erasmus+ funding will also be available for cross-border mobility of young people and volunteers in the field of sport, and in particular for activities that help to combat violence, discrimination or doping. Non-profit sporting events that involve several countries could also get EU funding.
Loan guarantees for master's degree students
Through Erasmus+, the EU will guarantee loans of up to €12,000 (for one year) or €18,000 (for two years) to students who wish to pursue Master degree in another country. This new system will in no case replace grant or loan systems that already exist or could be established at national level, MEPs stressed.
Funding better tailored to students needs
The text says that grants should reflect the cost of living in the host country and that member states should exempt them from any taxes or social levies. Unified management of the programme would also help to speed up the payment of grants to beneficiaries.
If approved by the EP at the November plenary and then by the Council, Erasmus + would take effect on 1 January 2014.