Brussels, 15 February 2013
Erasmus for All: state of play
Statement by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (15 February 2013).
"I attach great importance to my proposal for a new programme in the area of education, training, youth and sport. It is based on a rationale of strong EU added value, systemic impact, streamlining and simplification. The proposed actions are directly linked to the over-arching commonly agreed EU policy objectives.
The programme will offer more opportunities for mobility and more opportunities for educational and youth organisations to cooperate and learn from peers.
At the same time, the programme will ensure better value for money, better results, increased user-friendliness for beneficiaries and a more cost-effective delivery. I am very happy that the key points of the proposal have met with widespread support both within the Council and the Parliament.
I also noticed a clear willingness among all three institutions to quickly come to an agreement on this key file. I am therefore confident that the Irish Presidency will successfully conclude the negotiations during their presidency.
These negotiations will of course take place in the light of the agreement reached at the European Council last Friday. It is a good deal, but not good enough. We cannot be happy with a result which does not match the full scope of the overall ambition of the Commission proposal.
However, I acknowledge also that this agreement preserves a certain level of ambition when it comes to the investment at EU level in education, training and youth. Indeed, despite an overall cut in the EU budget, the allocation for Erasmus for All will increase substantially. Of course to a lesser extent than we envisaged initially - the exact figures are now being discussed - but still, I consider this is already a major achievement given the political circumstances. It is a clear recognition of the added value of Erasmus for All for our young citizens but also for the European idea.
But we must also bear in mind that this is not the end of the process. The ball is now in the hands of the European Parliament. In particular, it will be paramount to make sure with the European Parliament to obtain enough flexibility within the MFF (Multi-annual Financial Framework) so that budget and therefore the programmes such as Erasmus for All can work smoothly over the seven years.
In any case, it is an agreement which, in my opinion, does not call into question in any way the structure and objectives we have already proposed for Erasmus for All.
Now, it will be important during the final stretch of the negotiations to remain faithful to the key principles of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework in terms of EU added value and simplification. The legal base should remain lean and streamlined to guarantee user-friendliness, smooth implementation and flexibility. And management mechanisms should be as simple as possible for everyone involved in the programme.
I also believe that the new programme should have a strong and recognisable name that allows for effective communication with European citizens. This is why we should fully exploit the highly appreciated Erasmus brand name.
To conclude, I would like to stress that the new programme will be an important tool for targeted investment into education, training and youth and will contribute to creating sustainable growth and jobs. I therefore believe that it is in our common interest to come swiftly to an agreement on the best possible programme for European citizens."