Erasmus+, the EU's popular education, training, youth and sport programme, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year!
Experiencing life abroad, making new friends and memories that last a lifetime... What does this remind you of? The Erasmus+ programme is not only about studying, it is about learning. Since its launch in 1987, more than nine million people have been able to study, work and volunteer abroad with the help of Erasmus grants in one of the most successful European programmes. Its 30th anniversary this year will be marked with conferences, forums, dialogues, celebrations, debates and exhibitions throughout Europe. You can search for events in your country here.
Parliament celebrated the landmark anniversary today with an award ceremony in Strasbourg where Parliament President Antonio Tajani and European Commission President welcomed 33 Erasmus participants from each country taking part in the programme. Celebrations include an exhibition on Erasmus+, as well as debates on the future of the programme.
Tajani said: "[Erasmus] must be available as an opportunity to all young Europeans, regardless of their level of education or their family's income. This is why we must work on a EU budget with adequate resources. More funding for Erasmus also means less youth unemployment."
The current seven-year programme for 2014-2020 has a budget of €14.7 billion, which is 40% more than the previous budget. This reflects the EU's commitment to invest in Europe's youth.
Petra Kammerever, the chair of Parliament's culture and education committee, also took part in the celebrations: "[Former Commission President] Jacques Delors said 'You cannot fall in love with the single market' and I think he is right. This is what we are trying to change with this programme, by showing that the aim is to get people closer to each other.”
Watch the video above to hear the stories of previous Erasmus participants and how the programme changed their lives.