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Erasmus+ 2021-2027 is the EU's programme aiming at supporting “through lifelong learning, the educational, professional and personal development of people in the field of education, training, youth and sport in Europe and beyond” and playing a crucial role in promoting sustainable growth, quality jobs and social cohesion, driving innovation and strengthening European identity and active citizenship.
As a key instrument for building a European Education Area by 2025 set as an objective in the European Commission communication of 30 September 2020, the Erasmus+ Programme is tasked with:
- supporting the implementation of European strategic and cross-sectoral cooperation in the field of education and training;
- holding up the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights;
- advancing youth policy cooperation under the 2019-2027 European Union Youth Strategy. According to the latter, the Erasmus+ Programme should support high-quality youth work, tools and systems for the training of youth workers, the validation of non-formal and informal learning and quality approaches to empower youth organisations”;
- developing the European dimension in sport also taking into account the relevant European Union Work Plan for Sport, which is the cooperation framework at the Union level in the field of sport.
More precisely Erasmus+ is designed to promote:
- learning mobility of individuals and groups, and cooperation, quality, inclusion and equity, excellence, creativity and innovation at the level of organisations and policies in the field of education and training;
- non-formal and informal learning mobility and active participation among young people, and cooperation, quality, inclusion, creativity and innovation at the level of organisations and policies in the field of youth;
- learning mobility of sport staff, and cooperation, quality, inclusion, creativity and innovation at the level of sport organisations and sport policies.
The Programme should be able to support any field of study and should contribute to strengthening the Union’s innovation capacity by supporting activities that help people develop the knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes they need in forward-looking study fields or disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM), climate change, environmental protection, sustainable development, clean energy, artificial intelligence, robotics, data analysis, design and architecture, and digital and media literacy. Innovation can be fostered through all learning mobility and cooperation actions, whether directly or indirectly managed.
The Programme shall be open to the participation of public and private legal entities active in the fields of education and training, youth and sport.
Type of Actions
In order to achieve its objectives, the Programme operates through three key actions.
The basic architecture of the 2014-2020 Programme, which was divided into three chapters (education and training, youth and sport), and was structured around three key actions, has proved successful and should be maintained.
KEY ACTION 1 – LEARNING MOBILITY
Activities included in this set of actions are linked to:
- 1.1. Learning mobility: short-term, long-term, group or individual mobility in diverse thematic areas and study subjects, including forward-looking fields such as the digital field, climate change, clean energy and artificial intelligence involving higher education students, vocational education and training learners, school pupils, adult education learners and the staffs of all this groups of beneficiaries. Learning mobility may be accompanied by virtual learning (which is proposed especially for persons being unable to participate) and measures such as language support, preparatory visits, training and virtual cooperation.
- 1.2. Youth participation activities: activities with the aim of helping young people to engage and learn to participate in civic society, to raise awareness of European common values and to foster dialogue between young people and decision-makers at local, regional, national and European level;
- 1.3. DiscoverEU: an informal and non-formal educational activity with a strong learning component and an inclusive dimension, consisting of learning experience and travel throughout Europe to foster a sense of belonging to the Union and to enable participants to discover Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity.
KEY ACTION 2 – COOPERATION AMONG ORGANISATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS
The Programme should support the set up of:
- 2.1. Partnerships for cooperation: diverse cooperation activities carried out jointly by organisations and institutions from different countries, in particular with the aim of exchanging and developing new ideas and practices, sharing and confronting practices and methods and developing and reinforcing network partners. This action includes small-scale partnerships specifically designed to foster wider and more inclusive access to the Programme through activities with lower grant amounts, shorter duration and simpler administrative requirements;
- 2.2. Partnerships for excellence: diverse partnership projects and networks of education and training institutions and providers which aim to foster excellence and a reinforced international dimension and to develop long-term strategies to improve quality at a systemic level in all fields of school and adult education and training, in particular through jointly developed innovative practices and pedagogies, high levels of embedded mobility and a strong focus on interdisciplinarity, namely:
2.2.1. alliances of higher education institutions (European Universities) that develop joint long-term strategies for high-quality education, research and innovation and for service to society, based on a common vision and shared values, high levels of mobility, and a strong focus on interdisciplinarity and open study programmes combining modules in different countries;
2.2.2. partnerships of vocational education and training providers (platforms of centres of vocational excellence) embedded in local and regional strategies for sustainable growth, innovation and competitiveness that jointly work on high-quality transnational vocational programmes focused on meeting current and emerging sectoral skills needs;
2.2.3. integrated study programmes (Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degrees) offered by higher education institutions established in Europe and other countries of the world that foster higher education excellence and world-wide internationalisation; The action referred to in point 2.2 may also support partnership projects and alliances to promote excellence in the fields of school education and adult education.
- 2.3. Partnerships for innovation: partnerships in the fields of education and training and youth with the aim of developing innovative practices, namely:
2.3.1. alliances: strategic cooperation between key players in the field of education and training and in business and research that foster innovation and modernisation of education and training systems;
2.3.2. projects that foster innovation, creativity, e-participation, and social entrepreneurship in the fields of education and training and youth;
- 2.4. Not-for-profit sport events: events held either in one country or simultaneously in several countries to raise awareness of the role of sport in diverse areas such as social inclusion, equal opportunities and health-enhancing physical activities;
- 2.5. Online platforms and tools for virtual cooperation in the fields of education and training and youth.
KEY ACTION 3 – SUPPORT TO POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION
- 3.1. Preparation and implementation of the Union’s general and sectoral policy agendas, which consist of a diverse range of activities seeking to inspire and support policies and strategies in the fields of education and training, youth and sport, including European policy agendas and strategies in the various education sectors, youth and sports, including activities supporting policy cooperation at European level. This action also includes support for policy experimentation at European level, support for activities aimed at addressing emerging challenges in various thematic areas, and support for knowledge-gathering, including surveys and studies;
- 3.2. Support to Union tools and measures that foster the quality, transparency and recognition of competencies, skills and qualifications, including activities with the aim of facilitating the transfer of credits, fostering quality assurance, promoting the validation of non-formal and informal learning, including skills management and guidance, and supporting relevant bodies, networks and tools that facilitate exchanges in the field of transparency and recognition;
- 3.3. Policy dialogue in the fields of education and training, youth and sport and cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including a diverse range of activities such as conferences and other types of events, support for cooperation with international organisations and support to the functioning of the EU Youth Dialogue, Union-wide networks and European organisations which pursue the general Union interest;
- 3.4. Measures that contribute to the high-quality and inclusive implementation of the Programme, including support for activities and bodies, such as resource centres, info-networks and training and cooperation activities that improve implementation of the Programme, build national agencies’ capacity and enhance strategic implementation, and harness the potential of former participants of the Erasmus+ Programme and other multipliers as positive role models;
- 3.5. Cooperation with other Union instruments and support to other Union policies, including support for activities to foster synergies and complementarities with other Union and national instruments and to promote cooperation with the structures implementing such instruments;
- 3.6. Dissemination and awareness-raising activities that aim to inform citizens and organisations about the Programme and Union policies in the fields of education and training, youth and sport.
JEAN MONNET ACTIONS
The Programme also supports teaching, learning, research and debates on European integration matters, including on the Union’s future challenges and opportunities, through the following actions:
(a) The Jean Monnet action in the field of higher education: support to higher education institutions within and beyond the Union through Jean Monnet modules, chairs and centres of excellence and through Jean Monnet projects and networking activities;
(b) The Jean Monnet action in other fields of education and training: activities aimed at promoting knowledge about Union matters in education and training institutions, such as schools and vocational education and training institutes;
Forms of Union funding and methods of implementation
The Programme may provide funding in any of the forms laid down in the Financial Regulation, in particular grants, prizes and procurement. Simplified grants in the form of lump sums, unit costs and flat rates should be used to the maximum possible extent in order to simplify requirements for beneficiaries.
The Commission and the national agencies of sending countries are allowed to adjust those grants on the basis of objective criteria, in particular to ensure access for people with fewer opportunities. In accordance with national law, Member States should also be encouraged to exempt those grants from any taxes and social levies; grants awarded to individuals by public or private legal entities should be treated in the same manner.
The Programme shall be implemented so as to ensure its overall consistency and complementarity with other relevant Union policies, programmes and funds, in particular those relating to education and training, culture and the media, youth and solidarity, employment and social inclusion, research and innovation, industry and enterprise, digital policy, agriculture and rural development, environment and climate, cohesion, regional policy, migration, security and international cooperation and development.
An action that has received a contribution under the Programme may also receive a contribution from another Union programme, provided that the contributions do not cover the same costs. The rules of the relevant Union programme shall apply to the corresponding contribution to the action. The cumulative financing shall not exceed the total eligible costs of the action. The support from the different Union programmes may be calculated on a pro-rata basis in accordance with the documents setting out the conditions for support.
Project proposals may receive support from the European Regional Development Fund or the European Social Fund Plus, in accordance with Article 73(4) of the Common Provisions Regulation for 2021-2027, where they have been awarded a Seal of Excellence label under this Programme by virtue of complying with the following cumulative conditions:
- they have been assessed in a call for proposals under the Programme;
- they comply with the minimum quality requirements of that call for proposals;
- they cannot be financed under that call for proposals due to budgetary constraints.
Erasmus+ 2021-2027 has an estimated budget of 26.2 billion euros (24.5 billion in current prices with an additional top-up of 1.7 billion in 2018 prices), complemented by 2.2 billion euros provided by the external EU cooperation instrument.
This funding nearly doubled the budget compared to its predecessor (2014-2020).