EAEA´s advocacy work paid off as MEP´s of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) voted for increasing the budget for adult learning and keeping the Grundtvig subprogramme for adult education on board in the forthcoming Union Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport (YES Europe), previously known as Erasmus for All.
The CULT Committee strongly endorsed the draft report of the rapporteur, MEP Doris Pack (EPP, DE), at a vote in the European Parliament on 27 November 2012.
"Over the good ideas of the European Commission […] we made a better programme. This programme is not only mobility, it is cooperation, it is really working together, therefore I think we managed it in a good way," Pack said in her statement.
EAEA is pleased that a number of MEPs across different groups and parties during have supported its aims during the process. We appreciate all their efforts to improve the prorgamme, to strengthen adult learning, to support social inclusion and access to the programme, and to increase the participation of different stakeholders.
The Association lobbied successfully for the budgetary increase for adult learning in the forthcoming programme. In the Commission´s proposal the portion of adult education was alarmingly low, only 2 % of the total budget. Endorsing the rapporteur´s suggestion, the CULT Committee decided to increase the budget earmarked for adult learning to 6 %. EAEA believes that this is a big improvement, although a clear assessment is currently difficult as the overall budget is yet to be decided.
"I would be happy if the governments would at least pay what they promised for this and next year. I am very cautious because they did not give the money promised for the Erasmus mobility programme for this year and for the next year […] I would be happy if we can increase the budget as the Commission has foreseen it for the next seven years. If you do not invest in education and youth we can forget the European Union," stated rapporteur Doris Pack.
For EAEA it was a relief that the financial allocation for the Programme shall also cover specific and sustainable administrative grants to European organisations active in the field of education, training and youth. This concerns EAEA´s core funding.
Additionally, the MEPs decided to keep the titles of subprogrammes, like Grundtvig for adult learning and Comenius for school education, on board. Commission´s proposal was to include all subprogrammes under the title "Erasmus for All". Furthermore, the CULT Committee decided to rename the programme as "YES Europe" instead of "Erasmus for All".
EAEA appreciates the fact that Grundtvig subprogramme will continue within the new structure of the programme. Grundtvig targets many groups and sectors within lifelong learning due to its non-formal nature. It is, in addition to non-formal general adult education, being used for young adults´ non-formal training, parents´ education as well as non-formal teachers´ training.
EAEA did not manage to convince the MEPs to include mobility for adult learners to the programme. Senior volunteering, however, will probably be possible in the new "Europe for citizens" programme.
Other relevant points for adult education field in the adopted report include the European Added Value - it will not be based on a long-term systemic impact but a sustainable impact; the international dimension for higher education, vocational education and training and adult learning has been underlined; and social inclusion and the participation of vulnerable groups has been strengthened.
The text adopted by the CULT Committee will be discussed and voted in plenary next year. During 2013, the Parliament enters into a trialogue with the Council of EU and the Commission, to negotiate the final legislative resolution.
EAEA will continue lobbying the Council i.e. the Member States. Things can still change - for example France stated in the Council meeting on Education, Youth, Culture and Sport on 26 November that it will not accept the Programme to be named YES Europe, because it cannot be translated.
Text: Aura Vuorenrinne