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Procedure : 2017/2740(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0495/2017

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Debates :

PV 13/09/2017 - 21
CRE 13/09/2017 - 21

Votes :

PV 14/09/2017 - 8.14
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Texts adopted
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Thursday, 14 September 2017 - Strasbourg
The future of the Erasmus+ programme

European Parliament resolution of 14 September 2017 on the future of the Erasmus+ programme (2017/2740(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 14 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing ‘Erasmus+’: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport and repealing Decisions No 1719/2006/EC, No 1720/2006/EC and No 1298/2008/EC(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2017 on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing ‘Erasmus+’: the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport and repealing Decisions No 1719/2006/EC, No 1720/2006/EC and No 1298/2008/EC(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on Erasmus+ and other tools to foster mobility in vocational education and training (VET) – a lifelong learning approach(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values(4),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the future of the Erasmus+ programme (O-000062/2017 – B8-0326/2017),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas, in the current context, the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme should be not only a moment for celebration, but also an opportunity to reflect on how the programme can be made more accessible and inclusive, and improve the development of European citizens and organisations active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport;

B.  whereas education is a fundamental human right and a public good which should be accessible to all applicants, especially students with a lower income;

1.  Stresses that Erasmus is one of the most successful EU programmes and an essential tool to support activities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport, and in bringing Europe closer to its citizens; acknowledges the extremely positive impact it has had on the personal and professional lives of more than 9 000 000 participants in and outside Europe, including in neighbouring and candidate countries, over the last 30 years;

2.  Underlines the role of Erasmus+, which, through mobility and strategic collaboration, has contributed to enhancing the quality of education and training institutions in the EU, increasing the competitiveness of the European education sector, creating a strong European knowledge economy and achieving the Europe 2020 goals;

3.  Believes that the Erasmus+ programme and its successor should focus, in particular, on lifelong learning and mobility, covering formal, non-formal and informal education, and that, in so doing, it can support the development of skills and key competences for personal, social and professional fulfilment, which goes together with the promotion of democratic values, social cohesion, active citizenship and the integration of migrants and refugees in enabling a wider intercultural dialogue;

4.  Emphasises the need for a coherent approach to education, training, youth and sport policies across learning sectors, in particular through cross-action opportunities and synergies with other EU funds and programmes; notes, in this respect, that the upcoming renewal of the framework for European cooperation in the youth field is an ideal opportunity to align the priorities of the successor of Erasmus+ with the new EU Youth Strategy and other EU-funded programmes;

5.  Believes that Erasmus+ should also be viewed as a key instrument of the EU strategy to promote the sustainable development goals worldwide;

6.  Notes, given the high rate and importance of mobility between educational establishments and organisations on the continent and in the UK, that the Brexit negotiations should bring about a mutually satisfying agreement on the status of EU students and teachers participating in Erasmus+ mobility schemes in the UK and vice-versa;

Youth unemployment and personal and social fulfilment

7.  Is of the opinion that the Erasmus+ programme has evolved significantly, enabling more participants to benefit from the programme and helping them to improve their knowledge and close their skills and competency gaps, in particular with the extension of Erasmus+ to the volunteering, informal and non-formal education and training sectors and the expansion of its geographic scope beyond the EU;

8.  Recognises that mobile higher education students are twice as likely to be in employment one year after graduation than their non-mobile peers and that almost 90 %(5) of all vocational education and training (VET) learners on mobility programmes say that their employability has increased as a result of this experience; notes with regret, however, that young people are most at risk of unemployment; recognises the need, therefore, for Erasmus+ to lend strong support to actions geared towards delivering better employment opportunities;

9.  Stresses that volunteering encourages the development of civic participation and active citizenship, while also helping to boost participants’ chances of finding a job; stresses, therefore, that funding under the Erasmus+ programme should be part of a wider policy strategy aimed at creating in Europe an environment conducive to volunteering, not duplicating but strengthening existing successful initiatives; recalls, however, that potential quality jobs can never be replaced with unpaid volunteering activities;

10.  Outlines the fact that Erasmus+ should focus on innovation and development and place a greater emphasis on enhancing key skills and competences, such as self-confidence, creativity, entrepreneurship, adaptability, critical thinking, communication skills, team work and the ability to live and work in a multicultural environment; highlights the fact that those competences can be developed more fully through a balanced combination of formal, non-formal and informal learning, and that the acquisition of key competences is vital from a very young age and should be enhanced further through increased investment in actions targeting mobility during the earlier stages of education and training;

11.  Notes that Erasmus+ should foster stronger links between educational and training establishments and the business community in order to increase the skills and employability of its participants and the competitiveness of the European economy;

12.  Emphasises the role of Erasmus+ VET in helping participants to develop skills and acquire the experience required in the labour market, thus contributing to higher employability and social integration; encourages improvements to Erasmus+ VET with a view to making it more modern, accessible, simplified and fit for the digital age;

13.  Recognises the high potential for expanding the mobility of VET learners to short-term and longer-duration (Erasmus Pro) placements to reinforce the EU’s contribution to the fight against youth unemployment; urges the Commission and the Member States to reinforce the opportunities for VET learner mobility and the professional apprenticeship dimension of the programme, both in recognition of the inherent value of apprenticeships and to foster national reforms to develop professional training and qualifications further and promote their recognition; reaffirms, at the same time, that an internship is a formative opportunity that is not a substitute for paid employment;

Social inclusion and accessibility

14.  Regrets that fewer than 5 % of young Europeans benefit from the programme on account of socio-economic factors, limited funding, growing inequalities between and within Member States and the complexity of application processes and administrative management; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make the programme more open and accessible, delivering more for the final beneficiaries and maximising support, in particular for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special needs;

15.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to make Erasmus+ even more inclusive in order to reach more young people through different tools, digital in particular, and organisations, including formal and non-formal educational institutions at all levels, youth organisations, arts and grassroots sports organisations, volunteer organisations and other civil society stakeholders, by mainstreaming the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy through the programme and targeting those with special needs and fewer opportunities;

16.  Recalls that a lack of coordination and portability of rights among EU social systems represents a serious barrier to the mobility of people with disabilities, despite efforts to make the Erasmus+ programmes and other mobility initiatives more inclusive; calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen collaboration and thus improve the mobility of vulnerable people;

17.  Acknowledges that one of the main obstacles to involving more students in higher education mobility is the lack of clarity and consistency in the recognition of European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits gained during the mobility period; calls on the Member States and competent authorities, higher education institutions in particular, to fully implement learning agreements as a mandatory part of the mobility process and to ensure the smooth recognition of ECTS credits gained during Erasmus+ higher education mobility periods;

18.  Believes that the younger generations should have better opportunities to design the future of the programme, as they are best placed to enhance its vision and take it to the next level, in accordance with their current and future needs and the challenges they face when working, volunteering and studying;

19.  Encourages a certain degree of flexibility when designing the new programme to ensure that it is in a position to respond quickly to emerging challenges and strategic priorities at European and international level; highlights the fact that all new initiatives should complement existing ones and should be equipped with a budget that is sufficient to ensure their effective functioning;

European identity and active citizenship

20.  Firmly believes that the Erasmus+ programme should continue to stimulate active citizenship, civic education and intercultural understanding and develop a sense of European identity; insists, therefore, that all education and training and formal and non-formal learning mobility activities financed by Erasmus+ also raise young people’s awareness of the added value of European cooperation in the field of education and encourage them to engage in European issues;

21.  Believes that, where appropriate, incorporating educational mobility as part of higher education and vocational training programmes could be beneficial for both students’ personal and career development and the promotion of intercultural understanding;

22.  Calls on the Commission to develop a European student eCard giving students Europe-wide access to services;

Financing of the programme

23.  Regrets that the low success rate of projects launched under some Erasmus+ actions, limited grants and high demand for programme participation may jeopardise the success of Erasmus+ as a flagship EU programme; strongly believes that Erasmus+ should ultimately be targeted towards all young people and that these higher sights for the next Erasmus+ programming period must be matched by significant additional funding which should be reflected in an increased budget so as to unlock the full potential of the programme; calls, therefore, on the Member States, the Commission and relevant stakeholders to generate stronger and more visible support for the Erasmus programme in anticipation of the upcoming multiannual financial framework (MFF) negotiations;

24.  Stresses the importance of the smooth introduction of the new Erasmus+ programme, with a strategically planned budget from the outset; encourages the use of regional and social funds to increase the financial contribution of Member States to Erasmus+ mobility grants; recalls that the consistent application of programme rules across the national agencies, including compliance with shared quality standards and project evaluation and administrative procedures, is essential for guaranteeing the coherent implementation of the Erasmus+ programme;

o   o

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

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 50.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0018.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0107.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0005.
(5) Erasmus+ dashboard, data extracted on 28 March 2017; see:, p. 29.

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