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Citizens' Dialogue with Commissioner Tibor Navracsics

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Erasmus today is one of the most important programmes to support the growing up process of future generations, with which we can also finance important social goals.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics

On 18 March, the Faculty of Law and Political Studies of Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest (Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem) hosted a Citizens' Dialogue with Commissioner Tibor Navracsics. Beyond the topics of education, culture, sport and youth policy, the discussion touched upon issues such as European identity, language policies, and the upcoming European elections. Young people in the room took the opportunity to ask direct questions about the practical aspects of the Erasmus+ programme.

The Dialogue started with a short introduction by Dr. István Szabó, the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Studies of Pázmány Péter Catholic University, who welcomed the Commissioner and gave some introductory remarks on the topic.

Participants of this event were students, faculty members, academics, who expressed their interest beyond the Commissioner's portfolio concerning European matters.

Commissioner Navracsics shortly presented his portfolio and put special emphasis on the Erasmus+ programme, its history, as well as its present and future perspectives.

He emphasised that the upcoming budget of the programme, which will be more than doubled, is expected to increase the support made available to young people with fewer opportunities. He also talked about grassroots sport as an important tool for integration.

Several participants were interested in practical aspects of the student mobility program: ranging from how to apply, to the impacts on future job prospects, and whether there is a strong alumni program.

They also expressed how impactful Erasmus is, mentioning some of its faults where improvement still could be made, especially connected to credit recognition.

Commissioner Navracsics also assured participants that according to the European Commission’s proposal the DiscoverEU programme will have a permanent status and budget from 2021.

There was also a question concerning the continuity of higher education mobility in the context of Brexit. The Commissioner noted that there will be a break in the programme, but all students can finish their mobility projects this year without interruption and it is expected that a new form of partnership will be agreed later on.

Furthermore, answering a concern from a participant, he explained that one way or another, English will remain a working language in the European Union even after the United Kingdom exits the European Union.

The topic of correlation between the enlargement of the European Union and the expansion of the Erasmus+ partner countries was also mentioned. The Commissioner recalled that before Hungary joined the European Union, Hungarians took every sign as a reassurance of their integration.

One of the important aspects of the expansion of the Erasmus+ programme is that it gives opportunities to young people from Serbia for example to experience mobility and their own identity in the context of a shared European identity.

Many specific topics were also brought up, such as the Commission's role in academic freedom and freedom of education, the Minority SafePack.

Among other mentioned themes were the relationship between Member States and third countries in the field of education and its connections to migration.