On 23 October the Commission proposed to the Council and the European Parliament an 'amending' budget that would bridge the payment deficits of many of its programmes.
It asked for €180 million for the Lifelong Learning Programme (including €90 million for Erasmus) and €102 million for the Marie Curie Actions. The funds need to be made available before the end of the year to support grants to students, apprentices, teachers and researchers who go abroad in 2013. The Commission envisages that around 270 000 students will benefit from the Erasmus programme in 2012-2013, together with 80 000 vocational trainees and around 15.000 research fellows from the Marie-Curie Actions.
Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth said: "Investing in education, training and research is the best investment we can make for Europe's future. Each year, the EU's Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig) and the Marie Curie Actions enable more than 400 000 people to study, work, volunteer or do research abroad. This experience enhances their skills, personal development and job prospects - and it can also contribute to overcoming the crisis. This is why I am urging Member States and the European Parliament to address the funding deficit in the 2012 budget as soon as possible and to ensure we do not get into similar difficulties next year. We have a collective responsibility to respect our commitments to our young people. They deserve nothing less."
The strong media reaction over the last weeks and the many concerns expressed by students, families and institutions over the possible lack of resources for Erasmus grants have demonstrated the importance of the European education programmes to citizens. Being able to study abroad for a time, or spend a period as a trainee in an enterprise in another country, is valued by young people as a real and concrete benefit of belonging to the European Union. This is why the Commission is proposing to substantially increase funding in this area after 2013 under the new Erasmus for All programme.