Commissioner Vassiliou launches Erasmus+ in Greece
Erasmus+ – the EU’s new funding programme for education, training, youth and sport – was launched in Athens today by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in the presence of Constantine Arvanitopoulos, Minister for Education, and Panos Panayiotopoulos, Minister for Culture and Sports, representing the Greek EU Presidency. More than four million people, almost twice as many as now, will get an EU grant to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad over the next seven years. Erasmus+ will have a total budget of €14.7 billion – 40% more than under the previous programmes in 2017-2013.
“Investing in education and training is the best choice we can make for Europe’s future and its young people. The international experience gained through Erasmus+ will boost skills, personal development and employability. The budget increase we have secured means that many more people will benefit from EU support for these opportunities. We also need to invest more to improve the quality of education and training at all levels so we are a match for the best in the world and so that we can deliver more jobs and higher growth. Erasmus+ is all the more important at a time when many countries, including Greece, are facing very high levels of youth unemployment,” said Commissioner Vassiliou.
Who benefits from Erasmus+? 2 million higher education students will be able to study or train abroad, with 450 000 traineeships available; 650 000 vocational students and apprentices will receive grants to study, train or work abroad; 800 000 teachers, trainers, education staff and youth workers will teach or train abroad; 200 000 Master’s degree students doing a full course in another country will benefit from loan guarantees; More than 25 000 students will receive grants for joint Master’s degrees, which involve studying in at least two higher education institutions abroad; More than 500 000 young people will be able to volunteer abroad or participate in youth exchanges; 125 000 schools, vocational education and training institutions, higher and adult education institutions, youth organisations and enterprises will receive funding to set up 25 000 ‘strategic partnerships’ to promote the exchange of experience and links with the world of work; 3 500 education institutions and enterprises will get support to create more than 300 ‘Knowledge Alliances’ and ‘Sector Skills Alliances’ to boost employability, innovation and entrepreneurship; 600 transnational partnerships in sport, including European non-profit events, will also receive funding. Who benefits from Erasmus+ in Greece? Between 2007 and 2013, around 50 000 Greek students, young people and education, training and youth staff took part in the EU’s Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes. It is estimated that 75 000 (50% more) could benefit from Erasmus+ between 2014 and 2020.
Greece will receive a total of €34 million in 2014 from Erasmus+, a 3% increase compared with the funding it received in 2013. It is envisaged that, as with other participating countries, the annual allocation will increase each year up to 2020. Under Erasmus+, Greece can also benefit further from grants for transnational sports projects and the Jean Monnet action for European integration studies in higher education.
Background Erasmus+ is being launched at a time when nearly six million young people are unemployed in the EU, with levels above 50% in Greece, Spain and Croatia. At the same time, there are over 2 million job vacancies, and a third of employers report difficulties in recruiting staff with the skills they need. Erasmus+ will help to address this skills gap by providing opportunities for people to study, train or gain experience abroad.
Giving students and apprentices the opportunity to study or train abroad also makes it more likely they will want, or be able, to work abroad in future, thus increasing their long-term job prospects.
The programme will also increase the quality and relevance of Europe’s education, training and youth systems through support for training of education staff and youth workers, as well as stronger partnerships between education and employers.
The €14.7 billion budget takes account of future estimates for inflation. Additional funds are expected to be allocated for higher education exchanges and administrative support involving non-EU countries; the decision is due later in 2014.
Erasmus+ for the first time includes support for sport. It will allocate around €265 million over seven years to help address cross-border threats such as match fixing and doping. It will also support transnational projects involving organisations in grassroots sport, promoting, for example, good governance, gender equality, social inclusion, dual careers and physical activity for all.
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