The EU’s new Erasmus+ programme, which will fund grants for students, teachers, trainers and apprentices to study abroad in the EU, was approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday. Youth leaders, volunteers and young sportsmen and women will also be eligible. A new guarantee mechanism will also enable master’s degree students to get cheaper loans to study abroad.
“The Leonardo da Vinci Programme has been around since 1995 and it has been a great success. We are not starting from zero in the fight against youth unemployment and our efforts for training, mobility and the coming together of the Europeans, but we have to take care of the existing programmes and fund them adequately.” said rapporteur Doris Pack (EPP, DE).
Erasmus+ will bring together the EU education, training and youth programmes Comenius, Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Leonardo da Vinci (professional training) and Grundtvig under a single umbrella, and include sport for the first time. These sub-programmes keep their labels, which are well known to the public.
With a total budget of about €14.7 billion, Erasmus+ will help young people aged 13 to 30 to study abroad and offer master’s degree students a loan guarantee mechanism enabling them to get soft loans ranging from €12,000 (for a one-year master’s degree) to €18,000 (two years), to study in another EU country. Parliament stresses that this mechanism must not replace any existing national grant system or prevent the creation of lending mechanisms at national level.
Erasmus+ will also support new partnerships between teaching institutions and firms. « Knowledge alliances » and « sector skills alliances » should permit training in a real working environment, new teaching approaches and new courses tailored to the world of work.
The result of the vote was 632 votes in favour to 29 against and 30 abstentions.