Today, the Commission has published the 2019 annual report of Erasmus+, showing that the programme has fully delivered on its objectives for the year, with excellent implementation levels and an efficient use of funds. The total budget for the Erasmus+ programme increases year on year. In 2019, it amounted to €3.37 billion - €547 million more than 2018, representing an increase of 20%. With this budget, Erasmus+ supported almost 940,000 learning experiences abroad and provided funding to around 25,000 projects and 111,000 organisations.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “Erasmus is a European success story that has proven its added value for more than three decades. The programme is an effective way of addressing many of the societal challenges facing Europe. In the future, we will have a bigger, stronger, better Erasmus+ programme, which will also underpin our efforts to make the European Education Area a reality by 2025.”
In 2019, the programme funded the mobility of close to 505,000 higher education students and staff. It also continued to support vocational education and training learners and staff - more than 192,000 spent a learning period abroad in 2019. The first 17 European University Alliances started in June 2019 with a budget of almost €85 million. With a budget of €49.3 million, the sport strand of the programme funded 260 projects.
Today, the Commission also published the first report on the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps, which started in October 2018. It is the first EU programme fully dedicated to supporting young people's engagement in solidarity activities. In the first 15 months of its existence, the Corps provided support to 3,750 projects, offering more than 27,000 young people the chance to take part in individual or team volunteering, traineeships or jobs.
Erasmus+ and its predecessor programmes are among the most tangible EU achievements. For more than 30 years, they have been offering young people opportunities to discover other realities in Europe while, at the same time, pursuing their studies. The programme keeps expanding, reaching new regions and new audiences. The programme is also open to partner countries across the world.
On 11 December, Member States and the European Parliament reached political agreement on the Erasmus+ programme for the new programming period from 2021-2027. The new programme will not only be more inclusive and innovative but also more digital and greener. It will be key to achieving the European Education Area by 2025 and will mobilise the education, training, youth and sport sectors for swift recovery and future growth. It will provide many new opportunities for Europe's learners. With increased accessibility and more flexible mobility formats, it will provide opportunities to a more diverse group of learners, including those with fewer opportunities and school pupils, who are now included in the mobility action. It will offer new opportunities for cooperation, fostering innovation in curriculum design, learning and teaching practices, and will promote both green and digital skills. It will also support new flagship initiatives, such as European Universities, Erasmus Teacher Academies, Centres of Vocational Excellence and DiscoverEU.
Following a preparatory phase in 2017 and early 2018, the European Solidarity Corps exists as an EU-funded programme since October 2018, with an operating budget of €375.6 million for the years 2018-2020. It builds upon previous EU initiatives in the area of solidarity, aiming to offer a unique gateway for organisations active in the solidarity sector and young people wishing to contribute to society in areas that matter most to them.
Based on the success of the initiative, the European Commission proposed that in the period 2021-2027 that the European Solidarity Corps continues its activities and extends them to EU humanitarian aid with the overall budget of €1.009 billion for the period 2021‑27. This was confirmed in the political agreement on the new programme reached by the European Parliament and the Member States on 11 December.
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