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Vassiliou welcomes widespread support for future Erasmus for All programme

26.11.2012 Statement by Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, at the meeting of EU Education Ministers in Brussels on 26 November regarding the state of play on the proposed Erasmus for All programme for 2014-2020.

"A year ago, the Commission adopted a bold proposal for a new programme in the area of education, training, youth and sport. The rationale behind Erasmus for All is EU added value, systemic impact, streamlining and simplification. The proposed actions are directly linked to the over-arching EU policy objectives. The programme will offer more opportunities for mobility and more opportunities for educational and youth organisations to cooperate and learn from peers. At the same time, the programme will ensure better value for money, better results, increased user-friendliness for beneficiaries and a more cost-effective delivery.

One year later, I am pleased to note that the negotiations on Erasmus for All are making good progress. The Council has already expressed its view on almost all aspects of the proposal. And I am glad that the Council supported the creation of a single integrated programme and endorsed the main principles underpinning the proposal. Tomorrow the CULT Committee of the European Parliament will adopt its opinion.

I am very happy that the key points of the proposal have met with widespread support both within the Council and the Parliament.

Yet, it will be important during the final stretch of the negotiations to remain faithful to the key principles of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework in terms of EU added value and simplification. The legal base should remain lean and streamlined to guarantee user-friendliness, smooth implementation and flexibility. And management mechanisms should be as simple as possible for everyone involved in the programme.

I also believe that the new programme should have a strong and recognisable name that allows for effective communication with European citizens. This is why we should fully exploit the highly appreciated Erasmus brand name.

I am aware that several delegations harbour misgivings concerning the loan guarantee facility for Masters' students. I have to say that I respectfully disagree with them, but I have of course taken due note of these concerns. We will discuss them in the next phase of our work on Erasmus for All, which will start very soon, as we are about to enter into negotiations also with the European Parliament.

I would like to take this opportunity to underline the excellent working relations we have with both institutions. I remain convinced that we will be able to arrive at a final agreement on this important file rapidly and I welcome all the efforts that the Cypriot and future Irish Presidency will make to this end.

To conclude, I would like to stress that the new programme will be an important tool for targeted investment into education, training and youth and will contribute to create sustainable growth and jobs.

Erasmus for All will be a streamlined tool, one designed for maximising the EU value-added in helping the Member States pursuing such much-needed strategic reforms.

It is on this basis that we have asked to increase the budget for education within the MFF. The programme's proposed budget of €19 billion for the period 2014-2020 represents only 1.64% of the total EU budget. Given that its very raison d'être is to boost skills as a way out of the current crisis and to lay the foundations for Europe's future growth, it should not be cut".

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