The Erasmus+ programme started in 2014 and is now undergoing its mid-term review which is meant to be published at the end of the year and feed into the discussions on the future of the programme after 2020. In fact, the European Commission will publish its proposal for the new programme in June 2018 and negotiations will start with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU until 2020 when the future will be decided. The European Parliament has already adopted a resolution in the future of the Erasmus + programme on 14 September. The European Commission has been gathering input from civil society through the Erasmus+ generation online meeting point, and the proposals gathered there will be gathered in the Erasmus+ Generation Declaration which will be presented to EU decision makers on 30 November in Brussels.
In order to feed into these discussions on the future, EFIL together with EEE-YFU and OBESSU have updated the joint position paper with concrete proposals on how to improve pupil mobility in the Erasmus+ Programme, now supported also by the European Heads of Schools Association – ESHA. In our joint position paper we call for more investments in pupil mobility, and for greater involvement of non-for-profit organisations – experts in this field – in the management of pupil mobility schemes within Erasmus+. The paper was received positively by the European Commission’s School Unit, and the President of the European Parliament.
At the same time, EFIL is also taking part in the work of the Erasmus+ expert group of the European Youth Forum (YFJ) which focuses on the funding dedicated to youth organisations and youth work in the future programme. The YFJ is drafting a shadow report on the implementation of Erasmus+, to be released around the same time of the one of the European Commission, and its Council of Members will vote on a policy paper on the future Erasmus+ which will guide the advocacy actions of the Youth Forum until 2020.
The Lifelong Learning Platform and the European Youth Forum cooperate within this process of advocacy for the future of the programme, they regularly meet within the Erasmus+ Civil society Coalition, and have just launched the Erasmusx10 campaignwhich provides 10 reasons why increasing 10 times the Erasmus+ budget. Earlier this year, President Juncker invited the institutions to be nine times more ambitious: 10 times more is the minimum to ask!
For the moment, we see that the European Commission has not increased the support to European civil society organisations foreseen within the Erasmus+ programme under the action ‘civil society cooperation’ and prefers talking directly with citizens to gather input on policy. It is a crucial moment for European NGOs such as EFIL to show our role and outreach in society, and how we bring the opinion of thousands of citizens to the EU.
Furthermore, the integrity of the Erasmus+ programme structure at risk since its volunteering abroad dimension is now placed under the separate programme ‘European Solidarity Corps’ and DG Employment already manages the funding for VET and Adult education. We need to ensure that Lifelong Learning is enhanced further in the new programme, and fragmentation might endanger this objective.
If you want to know more about what opportunities Erasmus+ offers for 2018, have a look at theErasmus+ work programme for 2018 which outlines the structure and funding of the programme and highlights the link between the policies as well as changes from 2017.
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