The report demonstrates that Erasmus+ is well on track to meet its target of supporting 3.7% of young people in the EU between 2014 and 2020. It also shows that the programme has the potential to contribute to making mobility while learninga norm – a goal set out by the Commission in its Communication on "Strengthening European Identity through education and culture" discussed by the EU leaders at their Working Lunch in Gothenburgon 17 November.
In the 2015/2016 academic year, Erasmus+ enabled higher education institutions to send and receive 330,000 students and staff, including 26,000 to and from partner countries. France, Germany and Spain were the top three countries in terms of sending students and staff, while Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom were the three most popular destinations.
The report published today also shows how Erasmus+ contributed to respond to wider social challenges in 2016. This includes actions to promote social inclusion and ensure that young people acquire social, civic and intercultural competences and learn to thinkcritically. This includes for example:
- In 2016, €200 million from the Erasmus+ programme supported 1,200 cooperation projects focused on promoting tolerance, non-discrimination and social inclusion.
- The youth sector, with projects targeting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, was particularly active in this field.
- A specific call for proposals (€13 million) was launched for the development of policies and strategies to prevent violent radicalisation and foster the inclusion of disadvantaged learners, including people from migrant backgrounds. The call financed 35 projects involving 245 organisations.
Erasmus 30th anniversary: A successful campaign
The publication of the report coincides with the closing of the campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programmeand the presentation of the Erasmus+ Generation Declaration on the future of Erasmus+. Throughout 2017, more than 750,000 people took part in over 1,900 events in 44 countries to celebrate and discuss the future of Erasmus+. 65,000 articles on the programme were published and shared over two million times on social media, reaching over 90 million people. The new Erasmus+ Mobile App launched in June 2017 has already been downloaded more than 22,000 times.
In Gothenburg, President Juncker invited the EU leaders to double the number of young people in the EU participating in Erasmus+ by 2025, which will require a budget of €29.4 billion for the period 2021-2027. During their meeting, the EU leaders agreed to step up mobility and exchanges, including through a substantially strengthened, inclusive and extended Erasmus+ programme for all categories of learners.
The Commission also invited the Erasmus+ Generation to engage in the debate and created the Erasmus+ generation online meeting point. Their discussion resulted in 30 recommendations on how to make Erasmus+ a bigger programme with a bigger impact on the future of Europe. The Declaration drawn up by the Erasmus+ Generation will be officially presented and debated today during the closing event of the anniversary campaign.
Erasmus+ and its predecessors are among the most successful programmes of the European Union. For three decades they have been offering opportunities to gain new experiences to young people in particular, and a chance to broaden their horizons by going abroad. What started as a modest mobility scheme for higher education students back in 1987 – with only 3,200 students in its first year – has developed into a flagship programme benefiting around 300,000 higher education students per year.
The current Erasmus+ programme, running from 2014 to 2020, has a budget of €14.7 billion and will provide opportunities for 3.7% of young people in the EU to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad (i.e. around 3.3 million young people over the period). The geographical scope of the programme has expanded from 11 countries in 1987 to 33 currently (all 28 EU Member States as well as Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). The programme is also open to partner countries across the world.