European Union's Eramus+ programme has been running for nearly two years. Around 150 stakeholders from various organisations had a chance to discuss and give feedback to the EU representatives in a conference organised by S&D group in the European Parliament premises in Brussels.
"Erasmus+ is a new baby. We had a 40% budget increase since the last programme. There is an important part on international mobility that is new. We funded 30,000 projects, 1 million of individual mobilities. But we see now that one size does not fit all. So we need to look into how to improve the programme and we are here to listen to you," said Martine Reicherts, new Director General of European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Training (DG EAC).
The participants shared their views on the differences between Erasmus+ and its predecessor, the Lifelong Learning Programme.
One of the themes questioned was the outreach of the programme: does the new programme have a better outreach to disadvantaged groups as socially marginalised people or people with disabilities? In the field of adult education, participants underlined that several good actions of the previous programme have disappeared, as study visits, mobilities for older volunteers, Grundtvig assistant programme and learning partnerships. Participants discussed whether the new programme has been simplified in comparison to the former programme.
"We have asked for simplification of the programme and the application templates. It cannot be the case that the new programme would scare people off from applying to the programme, rather than motivating them to do so," said MEP Petra Kammerevert (S&D, DE).
Debating on Key Activities
MEP Krystyna Łybacka (S&D, PL) asked how the European Commission monitors the work of the National Agencies and their implementation of the Erasmus + programme and underlined the need for a coherent approach between agencies and strong support to applicant organisations.
On the European level, organisations underlined the need to recentralize Key Activity 1 (KA1) and Key Activity 2 (KA2) applications for European organisations. While the acting director of Directorate B of the DG EAC, Adam Tyson, underlined that the objective of decentralization is to respond to the different needs of different countries, participants also put in question this logic, underlining that it creates a risk to have similar projects in different countries that would lead to similar results.
"With decentralization there is a risk to have national programmes implemented at national levels. Erasmus+ should contribute to the European project," underlined Afonso Aliberti, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator of the European Youth Forum.
"The Erasmus+ programme needs the support of all stakeholders. We need all of you to give us feedback to further develop it: we need your input in the mid-term review, planned for 2017. You must help me and then I can help you," said Martine Reicherts from DG EAC in her closing remarks.
Text: Tania Berman
More on this topic:
EAEA policy page on Erasmus+