The Erasmus Student Network celebrates the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the EU budget for 2023, and thanks the rapporteur and the negotiating teams for their commitment to allocate the maximum possible support for the Erasmus+ programme, the EU's flagship education, training, youth and sports programme.
This addition to the budget will help to fund thousands more mobilities across sectors, at a time in which fostering social cohesion, solidarity and opportunities for young people are more important than ever. ESN would like to highlight the significant role that Erasmus+ has come to play as one of the best expressions of how the European Union can make a difference in the life of its citizens, while also having a significant impact beyond our borders.
Despite its remarkable contribution to the European project and the global international education sector, Erasmus+ still has untapped potential to change the lives of millions of young people in Europe and around the world. Putting pressure on Member States and looking for synergies between programmes, such as the European Social Fund+, are important steps to make sure Erasmus+ becomes the norm and not the exception, giving every single young European citizen the possibility to benefit from it.
ESN believes that this addition to the budget should be used to make sure that Erasmus+ can better support students from Ukraine, as explained in our joint position paper with ESU and the EUF. The first information after the agreement points in this direction, which is extremely positive. In addition, in a time of rising inflation, it is fundamental to use the fresh funds to adjust Erasmus+ scholarships following the inflation increase, in order to avoid a reduction of purchasing power of Erasmus+ students.
ESN also recommends that part of these new funds will go to increased support for the achievement of the priorities of the programme. In our recent contribution to the evaluation of the Erasmus+ programme and the SIEM technical recommendations, we have outlined a number of potential measures that could be used to foster inclusion, civic engagement, and sustainability in the programme. Some of the most important ones include:
A renewed scholarship system in which the baseline grants increase and students going to more expensive destinations receive extra support, while also ensuring that all scholarships arrive to the students before their mobilities start.
Revamping the organisational support system, with a new specific category to give Higher Education Institutions the possibility to apply for more funds to implement institutional initiatives related to the priorities of the programme. These extra funds can also support the implementation of local initiatives of student organisations in collaboration with their Higher Education Institutions.
Reinforcing the travel green top, in line with the demands of the Green Erasmus petition, providing up to 250 Euros of financial support and up to 7 days of financial support.