Michel's latest proposal for long-term EU budget, cutting Erasmus+ funding by further 14%, is at odds with the idea of 'Next Generation EU', say CULT MEPs ahead of European Council summit.
Ahead of talks among EU leaders on the long-term budget in the European Council on 19 July, Culture and Education Committee Chair Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE), Erasmus+ Rapporteur Milan Zver (EPP, SI), Creative Europe Rapporteur Massimiliano Smeriglio (S&D, IT), and European Solidarity Corps Rapporteur Michaela Šojdrová (EPP, CZ) issued the following statement, commenting on the draft Council conclusions (“negotiating box”) presented by Charles Michel on 10 July:
"Charles Michel's suggested budget compromise for Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps has taken a very low Commission proposal and managed to lower it even further. When he was Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel publicly called for a 'ten-times Erasmus' and a budget focused on young people. It's not clear what has happened, but he was right the first time when he said the EU budget should be future-focused."
"This new proposal is bad news for young people. How can we talk about Next Generation EU when we take opportunities away from that next generation? The budget now on the table for all three programmes will severely hamper their effectiveness. We will be offering fewer opportunities for people to study, learn or volunteer at a time when we need more."
"For Erasmus+, the Parliament is clear that our priority is to expand access to core activities and make the programme more inclusive. With a budget proposal that is 20% below the Commission's 2018 proposal and 48% below the Parliament's position, it will not be possible to fund 'European Universities' or 'Vocational Education and Training Centres of Excellence' or to offer young people the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to #DiscoverEU. Erasmus+ cannot be all things to all people if the budget is not there to back up the rhetoric."
"For the European Solidarity Corps, we are facing a budget that is 20% below what the Commission proposed in 2018. With that level of funding, we will be able to give fewer people the chance to gain invaluable life experiences and skills through a volunteering placement in the Corps. And we will have to focus on the core activity of volunteering at the expense of the jobs and traineeships strand."
"Our message to our heads of state and government is clear – please think again. We must deliver a budget that meets the needs and expectations of our citizens."
"We note that Charles Michel calls for a reinforcement of the Creative Europe budget. We sincerely hope that reinforcement is substantial as our cultural and creative and media sectors desperately need more support."
Compared to the Commission’s initial MFF proposal (2018), the May 2020 revised proposal (when calculated in 2018 prices) presents a 20% cut to the European Solidarity Fund, a 13% cut to Creative Europe and a 7% cut to Erasmus+."
The “negobox” proposal tabled by Council president Charles Michel on 10 July, ahead of talks among EU leaders, presents a further 14% cut to Erasmus+.