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The European Commission
The European Commission is ultimately responsible for the running of the Erasmus+ Programme. It manages the budget and sets priorities, targets and criteria for the Programme on an on-going basis. Furthermore, it guides and monitors the general implementation, follow-up and evaluation of the Programme at European level. The European Commission also bears the overall responsibility for the supervision and coordination of the structures in charge of implementing the Programme at national level.
At European level, the European Commission's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (Executive Agency) is responsible for the implementation of the centralised Actions of the Erasmus+ Programme. The Executive Agency is in charge of the complete life-cycle management of these projects, from the promotion of the Programme, the analysis of the grant requests, the monitoring of projects on the spot, up to the dissemination of the project and Programme results. It is also responsible for launching specific calls for proposals relating to some Actions of the Programme which are not covered through this Guide.
The European Commission, notably through the Executive Agency, is also responsible for:
- carrying out studies in the fields supported by the Programme;
- carrying out research and evidence-based activities through the Eurydice network;
- improving the visibility and the systemic impact of the Programme through dissemination and exploitation activities of the Programme’s results;
- ensuring the contractual management and financing of bodies and networks supported by the Erasmus+ Programme;
- managing calls for tenders to provide services within the framework of the Programme.
The National Agencies
The implementation of the Erasmus+ Programme is mainly implemented as Indirect Management, meaning that the European Commission entrusts budget implementation tasks to National Agencies; the rationale of this approach is to bring Erasmus+ as close as possible to its beneficiaries and to adapt to the diversity of national education, training and youth systems. For this purpose, each Programme Country has appointed one or more National Agencies (for the contact details, please consult Annex IV of this Guide). These National Agencies promote and implement the Programme at national level and act as the link between the European Commission and participating organisations at local, regional and national level. It is their task to:
- provide appropriate information on the Erasmus+ Programme;
- administer a fair and transparent selection process for project applications to be funded in their country;
- monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Programme in their country;
- provide support to project applicants and participating organisations throughout the project life-cycle;
- collaborate effectively with the network of all National Agencies and the European Commission;
- ensure the visibility of the Programme;
- promote the dissemination and exploitation of the results of the Programme at local and national level.
In addition, National Agencies play an important role as intermediate structures for the qualitative development of the Erasmus+ Programme by:
- carrying out activities - outside the tasks of project life-cycle management - that support the qualitative implementation of the Programme and/or trigger policy developments in the fields supported by the Programme;
- providing a supportive approach to newcomers and less advantaged target groups in order to remove the obstacles to full participation in the Programme;
- seeking cooperation with external bodies in order to increase the impact of the Programme in their country.
The supportive approach of National Agencies aims at guiding the users of the Programme through all phases, from the first contact with the Programme through the application process to the realisation of the project and the final evaluation. This principle is not in contradiction with the fairness and the transparency of selection procedures. Rather, it is based on the idea that in order to guarantee equal opportunities for everybody, it is necessary to give more assistance to some Programme target groups through advising, counselling, monitoring, and coaching systems tailored to their needs.