Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East and Member of the European Parliament Committee on Culture, Education and Sport has welcomed the deal reached this week under the Irish Presidency of the Council on the new Erasmus+ programme.
The new support programme for education and training, renamed Erasmus+, is the simplified and less bureaucratic continuation of the most successful student exchange scheme in the world and now also covers youth and sport.
Commenting on the breakthrough the Ireland East MEP stated:
“The agreement on Erasmus+ is great news for European students, trainees, teachers and youth workers. The new programme will cover far more than just student mobility with strengthened activities for youth and for the first time there will be a seperate funding line for sports.”
In the last five years an average of 400.000 students per year received EU grants for study, training and volunteering abroad. Erasmus+ aims to include up to four million people in the scheme for the next seven years.
A key aspect of the programme is the Loan Guarantee Facility for students. The Ireland East MEP highlighted that “students who have not been able to go abroad with Erasmus grants, will in future get the chance to receive a loan for a one or two-year Masters course in another EU Member State on favourable terms. The EU will provide a partial guarantee to the financial institutions that offer loans to students.”
However the Ireland East MEP has cautioned that this Programme can only realise its full potential with a robust and fair budget for the three headings of education, youth and sport.
“We need to make sure that Member States will support the ambitious funding for the Erasmus+ scheme in the negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget.”
Three-quarters of the total budget will be used for actions in general education and training, with the remainder allocated to youth and sport.
Parliament and Council will only be able to formally approve the agreement when the still-ongoing negotiations on the 7 year EU budget have been completed.