Go back to the Europarl portal

Choisissez la langue de votre document :

 Full text 
Procedure : 2000/2089(COS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A5-0199/2000

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
Wednesday, 6 September 2000 - Strasbourg
Socio-economic background of Erasmus students

European Parliament resolution on the report from the Commission - 'Survey into the socio-economic background of Erasmus students' COM (2000) 4 - C5-0146/2000 - 2000/2089(COS) )

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Commission report (COM(2000) 4 - C5-0146/2000 ),

-  having regard to Article 149 of the EC Treaty, which requires the Union to contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity,

-  having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to Decision No 253/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 January 2000, establishing the second phase of the Community action programme in the field of education 'Socrates'(1) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 25 January 1991 on the European dimension at university level, with particular reference to teacher and student mobility(2) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 1997 on the Commission's White Paper on Education and Training - teaching and learning - towards the learning society(3) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 14 May 1997 on the Commission's Green Paper 'Education - Training - Research: the obstacles to trans-national mobility'(4) ,

-  having regard to its resolution of 13 May 1998 on the Commission Communication to the Council, European Parliament, Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 'Towards a Europe of Knowledge'(5) ,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A5-0199/2000 ),

A.  whereas the Erasmus programme aims to encourage student mobility by developing the European dimension of education, in particular, by enabling students to undertake part of their studies in another Member State,

B.  whereas Erasmus can make a positive contribution to encouraging student mobility, provided that not only the European Union but also the national governments make the necessary efforts, by means of an adequate system of government support; whereas the loss of existing social rights at national level when students go abroad runs counter to promoting mobility,

C.  whereas the main purpose of Erasmus should be to provide equal treatment for Erasmus students regardless of their country of origin or country of destination; whereas this is not so at present, because existing government support varies markedly; more particularly, countries with a high level of government support for students are tending to spread their support over as many students as possible, with relatively small study grants for each individual, while countries with little or no additional government support are concentrating it mainly on a relatively small number of students,

D.  whereas the growing success of the Erasmus programme illustrates the vital role of Community action in the sphere of higher education,

E.  whereas it is essential, in an information and knowledge-based society, to continue to encourage the learning of foreign languages, the spirit of initiative and openness to other cultures, and this should become common practice in tomorrow's enlarged Europe,

F.  welcoming the fact that 80% of Erasmus students are the first in their family to study abroad and that more than 9 out of 10 have said that they are very satisfied with the period they spend abroad, from both the educational and the socio-cultural point of view,

G.  whereas, however, the Commission survey shows that only 1% of students took part in Erasmus mobility schemes in the year in question and that a great deal remains to be done to reach the programme's stated objective of a participation rate of 10%,

H.  regretting also that during the period under review the overall participation rate was barely above 50% and whereas measures are therefore required - in financial terms and in terms of student information - to remedy this situation by ensuring a more balanced participation of Erasmus students between the various host countries,

I.  sharing the Commission's regret that there are no coordinated and comparable European statistics which would give a more accurate and precise picture of the situation and would therefore allow more useful conclusions to be drawn, if for instance they also take account of the fact that Erasmus students have to work in the host country as well as at home in order to finance their studies,

J.  believing that it is necessary to improve transparency and academic recognition of qualifications and studies at European level and convinced that the future success of Erasmus measures depends on broader implementation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) and not on confirmation of the number of hours per week spent at universities or other institutions taking part in the Erasmus programme,

K.  noting that, as exclusion arises from structural and cultural as well as economic factors, measures are required to ensure greater diversity in the social backgrounds of Erasmus students in future,

1.  Welcomes the high quality of the Commission report but regrets that it was published so long after the formal adoption of the Socrates II programme, so that its findings could not be taken into account; hopes that in future similar surveys will be carried out at more frequent intervals, also with a view to investigating and analysing the reasons for the failure of many European higher education students to apply for Erasmus, and insists that in any event further statistics should be available before the mid-term review scheduled for 2004;

2.  Calls on the Commission to submit a report on the reasons why many students do not feel encouraged to take part in the Erasmus programme;

3.  Calls for suitable administrative procedures to be established to ensure that the Commission has data on Erasmus students and results with a view to preparing statistics and monitoring the programme;

4.  Acknowledges, records and draws attention to the worrying financial problems encountered by more than 57% of Erasmus students, particularly those from countries where State funding of students is lowest, who normally live with their parents in their home country - about one third of Erasmus students - and are thus largely dependent on their parents" contributions; condemns any internal discrimination practised in Member States' higher education systems, in particular by national agencies through the criteria applied when selecting students in higher education;

5.  Points out that the Socrates II programme can put such financial deficiencies right, by granting financial support that takes account of students" social and economic situation;

6.  Notes that despite all the efforts to provide equal opportunities for all social groups, financially better-off groups continue to enjoy greater access to higher education;

7.  Notes that within the framework of Erasmus it has hitherto not been possible to give special support to groups that are less well-off in socio-economic terms but that, on the contrary, the programme is used mainly by students whose parents have a high level of qualifications;

8.  Notes also the major disparities highlighted by this survey with regard to the respective participation rates of countries of origin and host countries, and the disparities in participation between various cultural and social backgrounds, and stresses the need to organise more targeted information campaigns, with the support of student organisations;

9.  Supports the Commission in its efforts to launch a public debate on how Erasmus students could represent a broader spectrum of cultural backgrounds than is at present the case, so that all the national Erasmus offices take social and economic criteria into account when allocating Erasmus grants;

10.  Calls on the Member States to optimise coordination between national student financial support and Erasmus grants with a view to ensuring the widest possible take-up of the Erasmus programme and promoting social equality in access to the programme;

11.  Calls on the Commission to adopt measures to strengthen European and national helplines to assist students with problems and overcome the obstacles to mobility as far as possible, and to create a Web page for Erasmus students to consult, which should include information on their rights and the obligations and commitments incumbent on their home and host universities;

12.  Calls on the Commission to consider, within the total sum of money already available for this scheme, other forms of indirect support (reductions in fares, accommodation allowances, systems of loans to cover the cost of mobility, etc) in addition to the present Erasmus grant to make it more effective; notes the comments already made by the Portuguese Presidency on this matter and expects appropriate action to be taken;

13.  Calls on the Commission to press for implementation of the measures approved by the European Council at the Feira summit, to further encourage mobility in the education and training sector, by targeted information and promotional activities;

14.  Hopes that the detailed proposals to be submitted by the Commissioner responsible in autumn 2000 will really help to make the Erasmus programme more accessible to all social groups and calls on the Commission to provide for regular monitoring and assessment of resources and find alternative methods of funding;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 28, 3.2.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 48, 25.2.1991, p. 216.
(3) OJ C 115, 14.4.1997, p. 85.
(4) OJ C 167, 2.6.1997, p. 94.
(5) OJ C 167, 1.6.1998, p. 136.

Legal notice - Privacy policy