A new programme, originally planned to be named as 'Erasmus for All', of approximately €16 billion supports initiatives in education, training, youth and sport over the next seven years.
Over four million people will benefit from EU grants for education and training opportunities abroad between 2014 and 2020 - almost doubling the numbers who currently receive these supports.
Erasmus+ will focus on mobility, cooperation and policy reform. Improvements will be made to supports for international study, training, teaching and volunteering opportunities. These improvements will benefit higher education and vocational students, trainees, teachers, trainers and youth workers.
Good practice will be shared through cross-cultural and cross-institutional learning in education and training institutions, and youth organisations. These will be formally put in place through "Knowledge Alliances" at university level and through "Sector Skills Alliances" in vocational institutions.
The programme provides for engagement of the private sector to foster innovation and to ensure that practical learning and education is brought to the fore. The evidence base for policy-making and reform will be strengthened.
"Erasmus + will improve the employability of young people and open up new opportunities for them. Since 2007, approximately 400,000 people a year across Europe have benefited from the current programmes, and today´s development means that many more people of all ages and backgrounds will be eligible for these supports," said the Irish Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, T.D.
The Minister noted that it is estimated that by 2020 nearly 35% of all jobs will be classified as high-skill.
"We need to ensure that our young people are equipped to meet the future demands of the labour market, and that we are providing them with opportunities that will reveal their full potential," he said.
He added that member state agreement on Erasmus+ has been a key achievement of the Irish presidency of the European Council.