BRUSSELS– Plans for the Erasmus+ youth education programme published Wednesday by the EU Commission, set to be funded to the tune of EUR 3 billion, include plans for a network of European Universities.
The Erasmus Programme student exchange programme was established in 1987. The new Erasmus+, or Erasmus Plus programme combines all the EU’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, and started in January 2014.
EUR 30 million from the Commission Erasmus+ programme’s expected budget has been set aside for dedicated European Universities. The new initiative was endorsed by EU leaders at their Gothenburg Social Summit last November, and is part of a push towards establishing a ‘European Education Area’ by 2025.
“We are working towards a Europe where learning, studying and carrying out research are not blocked by borders,” said Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics: “No walls hampering excellence, innovation and inclusiveness in education. European Universities have a real potential to transform the higher education landscape in Europe, and I am proud that we are giving them a strong push through the Erasmus+ programme.”
Under the 2019 call, any public or private body active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport may apply for funding. In addition, groups of young people who are active in youth work, but who do not form a youth organisation, may apply for funding.
Together with the call for proposals, the Commission also published the Erasmus+ Programme Guide in all official EU languages, which provides applicants with details on all opportunities for students, staff, trainees, teachers and more available in Erasmus+ for 2019.
As part of the creation of a European Education Area by 2025, the Commission proposed the set-up European Universities in the European Union.
As part of the 2019 call for proposals, the Commission will launch a pilot programme which will support six European University alliances, each consisting of a minimum of 3 higher education institutions from 3 countries to promote a strengthened European identity, while also boosting excellence and helping to make European higher education institutions more competitive.
Applicants have to submit their grant applications to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency by 28 February 2019 for alliances starting between 1 September and 1 December in the same year.
A second pilot call is expected to follow next year with a full roll-out of the initiative envisaged under the next long-term EU budget as from 2021. The aim is to build some twenty European Universities by 2024.