By Alice Johansen
The president of the European Youth Forum, Peter Matjašič, demands that the EU increases The Education, Training and Youth Programme. At the same time, the EU has decided to reduce its budget for the new “Erasmus for All”, and to take away exchange possibilities for 700.000 students.
With the EU still in the financial crisis, and EU unemployment rates at an all-time high at 11,8 %, many young Europeans decide to study instead of going into an insecure work future.
More on cows
Peter Matjašič argues that the EU only invests 0.8% of its budget directly in education and youth issues.
“The EU spends today more on cows than youth. According to Eurostat, the EU spends €12.7 per cow and a mere €1.26 per young people in the current budget”, says the European Youth Forum president on on euractiv.com. Agriculture is responsible for 1.7 % of European output, according to Eurostat, and even that number has gone down 0.8 % since 2000.
Lower budget in “Erasmus for all”
Starting from 2014, the proposal from the EU is to place the current exchange programs Erasmus, Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig, Youth in Action, and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries) under the same umbrella, called “Erasmus for All”.
The budget is €19 billion, which is 14% lower than proposed by the European Commission education. This means that around 700,000 people will miss out on an experience abroad under the Erasmus for All program in 2014-20 compared with the commission’s proposal,” Dennis Abbott, the European Commission’s education spokesperson told University World News.
The EU stresses that the new “Erasmus for All” will not be weaker than the existing programs. The new program will still focus on the needs of young people, whether they are pupils, students, trainees, volunteers or involved in associations. It will place more emphasis on support for teachers, trainers, information officers and youth workers because of their importance as ‘multipliers’, the EU writes in an official press release.
A part of the EU2020 initiative
As a part of the EU2020 flagship initiatives, the union has started up a project called “Youth Opportunities Initiative”. The initiative has two main goals. The first is to help people who left school or training without having achieved upper-secondary education to return to school or enroll in vocational training for in-demand skills. The other is to ensure that graduates get a first work experience.
- One of the measures being taken to reach these goals is among others to tap into the €30 billion from the European Social Fund that has not yet been yet allocated to projects for 2007-13, the Euopean Union reports on its official website in 2012. The website does, however, not report yet on any concrete actions being taken.