The European Commission welcomes the Council's adoption on 3 December of Erasmus+, the EU's new programme for education, training, youth and sport, with a budget of €14.7 billion over the next seven years - 40% higher than current levels.
The Council adoption follows the European Parliament's overwhelming vote in favour of the new programme on 19 November and fully endorses the text voted by it.
Erasmus+ brings together the EU's support for education, training and youth into a single programme (previously seven separate programmes), as well as including funding for sport for the first time.
"I am pleased that Erasmus+ has now been adopted formally by the Council. The budget increase of 40% demonstrates the EU's commitment to education and training. Erasmus+ will enable young people to increase their knowledge and skills through experience abroad which will improve their employability. While a majority of the budget will be used for individual mobility grants, Erasmus+ will also support partnerships to help people make the transition from education to work, and reforms to modernise and improve the quality of education in Member States," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Erasmus+ will support learning opportunities abroad both within the EU and beyond. In the field of sport, the focus will be on grassroots initiatives and tackling cross-border challenges such as match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. The final signature by the European Parliament and the Council is foreseen on 11 December. The Erasmus+ programme will enter into force in January 2014.