Sunday

3rd Jul 2022

Spanish government under fire over Erasmus cuts

Spain’s sudden decision to cut Erasmus scholarships in the middle of the academic year has sparked outrage among Spanish students and some members of government.

The cost-cutting measure, introduced last week, cancels a €120 per month living allowance from the national coffer on top of the standard Erasmus EU-funded grant.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Spanish students studying oversees will see their monthly living allowances cut (Photo: Ojo Espejo)

The move affects all but the poorest Spanish Erasmus students but the uproar forced Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert on Tuesday (5 November) to extend the grants for the rest of the academic year.

“The government recognises that those receiving these Erasmus scholarships this year did not know about the decision to focus the aid on poorer students,” he is quoted as saying in the AFP.

AFP reports the Spanish Socialist Party will request Wert to resign as education minister.

A Spanish student blog exposed the change to the wider public after the government quietly published its decision in a bulletin.

Some 39,000 Spanish students, reportedly more than any other EU member state, participate in the Erasmus student exchange programme.

The Spanish government has been reducing its national share for the past two years. The EU contribution of around €111 per month is not affected by Spain’s decision to slash its share of the student grant.

The European Commission, for its part, said the national authorities should have informed the students in advance of the cuts.

“This decision taken by the Spanish authorities, should have been revealed to the students before the start of the current academic year,” European Commission spokesperson Olivier Bailly told reporters in Brussels.

He noted that similar moves had been made in other member states. Both France and Belgium cut their national contributions but maintained grants for the less well off students.

Bailly said the popular EU student scholarship is set to expand for the 2014 to 2020 period to cover an additional two million students with its new Erasmus + programme.

“For the 2014 to 2020 period there will be a 40 percent increase in our budget under Erasmus +, so that means an additional two million students will be able to benefit from the EU grant,” he said.

The new €14 billion Erasmus + programme received the backing of the European Parliament’s education committee on Tuesday.

The EU-funded grant is designed to allow over five million young people under 30 to study, train and volunteer in other countries.

Erasmus + is also set to guarantee loans for students pursuing a master degree in another country.

Students in a one year masters programme can have loans guaranteed up to €12,000 while up to €18,000 can be secured for those pursing a two-year programme.

The programme is set for launch in January 2014 but must first be approved by the parliament in November, followed by the member states.

EU student scheme reaches 3mn mark

The EU's student exchange scheme, Erasmus has reached its 3 millionth participant since the programme was set up decades ago.

Poor students lose out in EU Erasmus scheme

Twenty years after the EU launched its student exchange programme Erasmus, the poorest students still find it difficult to take part in it. Meanwhile, participants from the new member states benefit much more in terms of better jobs than their west European counterparts.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Interpreters at the European Parliament are fed up with remote interpretation, citing auditory health issues given the poor quality of the online sessions.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament 'photographs protesting interpreters'
  2. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  3. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  4. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  5. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  6. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  7. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  8. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  2. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  3. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  4. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  5. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  6. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  7. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  8. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us