23.04.2013 POLICY

The Commissioner for Education makes a statement on Erasmus for All

Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, appeals to MEPs on supporting Commission's views on the forthcoming programme for Education and Training, Youth and Sport.

Negotiations on Erasmus for All are approaching a decisive phase.

"I believe the spirit is constructive, and I hope we can reach an agreement as soon as possible."

Commissioner Vassiliou spoke to European Parliament´s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs in Brussels on 22 April 2013.

Commissioner calls for flexibility

The original budget of 17 billion euros will most probably be cut.

"After the recent European Council agreement, we would now foresee a budget of around 14.5 billion euros, which still represents a significant increase on current funding," Vassiliou tells.

Ms. Vassiliou reminded the MEPs of the Committee on the roots of the Commission´s original plans.

"In a time of constantly changing needs, we need a programme which can adapt quickly to the political and economic realities. Today for instance, our programme cannot respond as forcefully to youth unemployment as we would like, and this is because of inbuilt rigidities such as a budget that is largely pre-allocated, in advance, to the various sectors of education. Therefore, we propose that the new Erasmus for All offers greater flexibility around a set of clear and coherent objectives."

Rapporteur of the Parliament´s report, MEP Doris Pack (EPP) proposes to increase the number of objectives and actions in the programme, and to pre-allocate 83% of the budget to the various beneficiaries. MEPs across the political spectrum have supported Pack´s position. Also EAEA and other advocacy organisations support Ms. Pack´s report.

" 'Erasmus' is the only candidate"

The Commissioner also discussed the name of the future programme. For her the name is a question of principle.

"At stake is the entire simplification agenda at the heart of the proposals, where Erasmus for All unites seven existing programmes into an integrated, strategic whole. If we agree on the need for a single programme with a clear political focus, then we must have a name that is credible and popular, and which symbolises the EU's most cherished ideals. […] If we are expanding our programme, and opening it up, then the name Erasmus for All sends a clear message. I am convinced that if we do not exploit the full potential of simplification and one of the EU's best-loved brands, then we are making a mistake."

Read the complete speech on Europa RAPID.

Source: Europa RAPID