Erasmus programme
The Erasmus+ exchange programme doesn’t just blur borders, but also breaks barriers. Source: Alexis Brown/Unsplash

A new report from the European Commission (EC) reveals that the Erasmus+ programme has helped over 10 million participants gain experience abroad, including four million between the years 2014 and 2020.

Of the four million, an estimated two million participants are from the higher education sector. 

The 2018 annual report outlines several key milestones just in time for the programme’s 33rd anniversary this year. Firstly, 850,000 students, apprentices, teachers, and youth workers benefited from the exchange programme in the 2017/2018 academic year. 

This included 155,000 young people and youth workers, 148,000 vocational education and training learners, and 40,000 teachers and school staff. Erasmus+ also funded more than 23,500 projects during that period. 

As stated in the report, “The Erasmus+ programme continues to represent one of the most tangible achievements of the EU: uniting people across the continent, creating a sense of belonging and solidarity.”

Erasmus+ programme blurs borders, breaks barriers

Spain was the top destination of Erasmus+ participants in 2017/18. Source: Erasmus+ annual report 2018

According to the report, higher education students had a favourite destination in 2017/18: Spain (51,321 participants). In second place was Germany (34,539), followed by the UK (31,877), France (29,833) and Italy (27,945).

Most participants in the Erasmus+ programme came from France (47,811), Germany (42,398), Spain (40,226), Italy (38,682) and Turkey (17,957).

It’s safe to say that the programme doesn’t just blur borders, but also breaks barriers. One of the ways it does this is with the Erasmus+ Mobile App, which has been downloaded over 73,000 times since being launched in 2017. 

Using this app, students can access a range of administrative, accommodation, and language services that will ease their time abroad. For example, participants can learn 24 EU languages online via the Erasmus+ Online Linguistic Support. This course has helped 530,000 participants since 2014, including 8,000 refugees. 

EC calls for greater funding

The proposed European Commission budget for 2021–2027 puts forth a plan to increase Erasmus+ spending to €30 billion, which is nearly double of the €14.7 billion allocated in the current period. Of this, €25.9 billion will be channelled towards education and training, €3.1 billion towards youth, and €550 million towards sports.

The new budget will cover up to 12 million people, which is three times as many as in the current financing period. Additionally, it will support the growth of the European Education Area, which will “enhance learning mobility and educational opportunities in the EU”.

Beyond Europe, the EC hopes to strengthen relations with third countries and focus on fields that will be relevant for future jobs, such as renewable energy and the climate crisis. 

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