Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Magazine

A bigger Erasmus budget to favour inclusion

  • Chairwoman Sabine Verheyen (EPP, Germany). The proposal of the EU commission doubles the funding for Erasmus 2021-2027, up to €30bn (Photo: European Parliament)

One of the most notable aspects of the European Union is the cultural and linguistic diversity of its member states, and how successful programs such as Erasmus+ enhance European multiculturalism through education.

One of the main priorities for the European Parliament's committee on culture and education (CULT), chaired by centre-right German MEP Sabine Verheyen, is to triple the budget of the Erasmus+ programme from 2021-2027, to make it more inclusive.

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The current budget (2014-2020) for the Erasmus+ programme is €14.7bn.

However, a bigger budget is necessary to ensure that the Erasmus+ initiative is "more inclusive and accessible" for people with specific needs or disadvantaged groups, Verheyen told EUobserver.

Erasmus is an initiative designed to allow young people to discover and live European values: learning about other countries, languages, and cultures while developing tolerance and mutual understanding.

"This committee has played a vital role supporting Erasmus+ and ensuring that it is implemented well," she said.

However, one of the main challenges for the CULT committee will be to find the balance between the different stakeholders during the ongoing inter-institutional negotiations - especially considering that the proposal of the commission only doubles the funding for Erasmus 2021-2027 up to €30bn.

For the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), this committee will have to reach a political agreement with the EU Council not only on the Erasmus+ programme, but also Creative Europe (for culture and the creative sector) and European Solidarity Corps (for volunteering).

"I know my colleagues following those files are committed to achieving an excellent result. It is imperative that we get it right," Verheyen said.

The committee will also focus its efforts for the next five years on the implementation of the updated audiovisual media service directive (AVMSD), and the new forthcoming revision of the e-commerce directive.

Once the new AVMSD is implemented, the parliament will have to ensure that the revision of the e-commerce directive does not jeopardise the achievements made concerning the regulation of video-sharing platform services like YouTube, she said.

Likewise, digital skills, media literacy, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) will present fresh challenges for the CULT Committee.

According to Verheyen, even though AI is still not completely understood or adequately addressed within European policy-making, "it will have an increasing impact on cultural and creative industries, as well as on education".

AI-based systems are set to be potential tools in the educational sector, for example, detecting early dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The coordinators of the CULT committee, who manage their political groups' viewpoint on the topics before the committee, are Michaela Šojdrova (EPP, Czech Republic), Petra Kammerevert (S&D, Germany), Laurence Farreng (Renew, France), Salima Yenbou (Greens/EFA, France), Christine Anderson (ID, Germany), Dace Melbrde (ECR, Latvia) and Niyazi Kizilyürek (GUE/NGL, Cyprus).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.

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