Erasmus+ is the EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport 2014-2020. Erasmus+ combines previous funding programmes in the sector, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Transversal Programmes), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This makes it easier for applicants to understand the opportunities available, while other simplifications facilitate access.
Erasmus+ has three main targets: two-thirds of the budget is allocated to learning opportunities abroad for individuals, within the EU and beyond; the remainder supports partnerships between educational institutions, youth organisations, businesses, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as reforms to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability. IKY is the National Agency for Erasmus+ (apart from the Youth Sector). The Youth sector is managed by the Youth and Life Long Learning Foundation.
What does Erasmus+ support?
Erasmus+ aims to increase the quality and relevance of qualifications and skills. Two-thirds of its funding is allocated upon grants for more than 4 million people to study, train, work or volunteer abroad in the period 2014-2020 (compared with 2.7 million in 2007-2013). The period abroad can range from a few days up to a year. Erasmus+ is open to students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, youth leaders and people working in grassroots' sport. It also provides funding for partnerships between educational institutions, youth organisations, enterprises, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as support for reforms in Member States to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability. There is support for IT platforms such as e-twinning, to connect schools and other learning providers via the internet. Erasmus+ contributes to developing the European dimension in sport, by helping to address cross-border threats such as match fixing and doping. It also supports transnational projects involving organisations in grassroots sport, promoting, for example, good governance, social inclusion, dual careers and physical activity for all ages.
EU countries have created during the past 25 years a new generation of students, “the Erasmus Generation” having strong intercultural skills, being highly exposed to different cultures and thus more willing to work abroad and adapt to new environments. The Erasmus Programme has started as a tool to help create a solid European identity among young EU citizens coming from different European countries with strong national identity. This European identity came as an addition to their national one. According to a recent European Commission survey, the Erasmus Programme has gone much further than that, as the so called Erasmus generation not only feels more “European” but has also acquired valuable transversal skills for the job market such as adaptability, tolerance, ability to cope with difficulties in a foreign environment, see beyond stereotypes, cooperate with people coming from a different cultural background, and build international networks. The Erasmus+ Programme has a strong international dimension, offering new opportunities to students and staff coming from all over the world. The Erasmus+ programme also foresees special funding for students with disabilities /lower socioeconomic environments. This social dimension of the Programme is also very important, as many useful talents for the job market may be wasted otherwise.