Today, the final event to celebrate the Erasmus+ 35th anniversary is taking place in Brussels. Since its creation in 1987, Erasmus+ has provided opportunities to study, train, work and volunteer abroad to nearly 13 million people. In the years to come, Erasmus+ will continue to allow more people to learn and participate in transnational projects.
Today’s event is the occasion to listen first-hand to experiences from participants, share own impressions, and exchange on the history and the future of the programme. It will be attended by Vice-President for the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Mariya Gabriel, as well as European Parliament Culture Committee Chair, Sabine Verheyen and the Czech Education, Youth and Sport Minister, Vladimír Balaš.
Founders of the programme, beneficiaries, and members of staff working at the national or European level on Erasmus+ will take part in different sessions and workshops dedicated to Erasmus+ priorities, good practices and the history of the programme, among other topics. The event will close with a photo exhibition made by young beneficiaries of the travel pass DiscoverEU and an art performance.
Today’s event is also the occasion to present the 2021 Erasmus+ annual report, providing insights into the impact of the actions introduced. The report shows that in 2021 alone, despite a challenging global context, Erasmus+ supported close to 19,000 projects, with the participation of over 70,000 organisations, providing opportunities to more than 648,000 learners, staff and young people including at least 65,000 persons with fewer opportunities to carry out a mobility activity. This demonstrates the programme’s continued dedication to enriching the everyday lives of citizens in Europe and beyond, and its appeal for an ever-growing number of participants.
This all-day event, which can be followed also online, follows up on other celebratory activities carried out at European level as well as in countries associated to the programme. A dedicated website on the 35th anniversary shares key figures and testimonies of former Erasmus+ alumni.
In 2023, following up to the European Year of Youth, the programme will continue to ensure that the voices of the youth are heard in the European Union and beyond, especially through an increase in youth activities funded through the Erasmus+. In addition to encouraging projects that seek to support the green transition, across all the different educational sectors, the programme continues to strive for carbon-neutrality by promoting sustainable transport modes and more environmentally responsible behaviours.
At the same time, projects and activities will continue feeding into the EU’s commitment to upskilling and reskilling, thereby providing a valuable contribution to the plan to make 2023 the European Year of Skills.
Erasmus+ was created in 1987, providing learning mobility opportunities to just 3000 university students. There have been substantial changes to the Erasmus+ over the years; it has been continuously modernised, expanded and opened up to countries that were not part of it in its early days. In 2014, the name changed to Erasmus+ to mark the broadening of the programme to all education fields as well as Youth and Sport. Since then, the programme brings opportunities for all ages to discover other countries through a wide choice of participating organisations.
Today, it is one of the most emblematic EU programme and nearly 13 million people have participated in the programme so far. It offers cooperation and mobility opportunities in school education for pupils and teachers, in vocational education and training, higher education and adult education, as well as projects for apprentices, young people, youth workers, and (as of 2023) sport coaches.
Following the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, the Erasmus+ programme ensured the greatest possible flexibility in implementing projects with a view to providing support to Ukrainian learners and education staff.
With a total budget available for Erasmus+ from 2021 to 2027 amounting to €26.2 billion, complemented with about €2.2 billion from EU’s external instruments, the programme is set to support even more participants and ideas in Europe and beyond. The current programme period also marks the integration of DiscoverEU into the Erasmus+. With this change and thanks to the exceptional funding granted in the context of the 2022 European Year of Youth, 70,000 travel tickets are being made available in 2022.
Based on open calls for project applications, any public or private body active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport can apply for funding, with the help of Erasmus+ national agencies based in all EU Member States and third countries associated to the programme, and the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.
The call for proposals for 2023 under the Erasmus+ programme was launched on 23 November 2022. With an annual budget of €4.2 billion, Erasmus+ increased its support for inclusion, active citizenship and democratic participation, and green and digital transformations in 2023 in the EU and internationally. As of 2023, Erasmus+ will feature a new action to support sport coaches through their participation in mobility projects, extending opportunities for cross-European cooperation and learning directly to local grassroots sport organisations and their staff.
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It is fitting to celebrate 35 years of Erasmus+ at the end of a very intense year which was, even in the face of all the trials and tribulations, dedicated to European Youth. The opportunities Erasmus+ provides continue to inspire hope in a better future, have helped to strengthen the European identity of all its beneficiaries, and serve as a bridge-builder between Europe and the world. Erasmus+ has since 1987 been the instrument that made our Union more complete, and together we look forward to what lies ahead.
Over the past 35 years, Erasmus+ has changed for the better the lives of 13 million people of different ages and backgrounds. And to ensure that Erasmus+ keeps helping those with fewer opportunities to carry out mobility activities, we have launched an upwards revision of the individual support awarded for the 2023 calls opened on 23 November. We are sure this adjustment will make the difference.