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AEGEE-Europe’s Reaction to “ERASMUS FOR ALL: The EU Programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport”

AEGEE-Europe acknowledges the programme presented on November 23 by the European Commission that will substitute, among other programmes, the current “Youth in Action”. The new programme, called “Erasmus for All”, will include all the funding possibilities for youth, education, mobility, sport and culture, and include a significantly increased budget.

AEGEE-Europe welcomes the focus on education and vocational training, with the focus on individual mobility and a clear simplification of the mobility programs for students, with the predictable result to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the procedures.

However, AEGEE-Europe considers the proposal, as submitted, deeply unsatisfactory.

The programme leaves aside the non-formal education and the peer-to-peer learning that constitute one of the biggest added value during the educational process, and it mentions the interest for informal learning only sporadically.

Additionally, the objective and competence to encourage participation of young people in the democratic life in Europe, as stated in the Lisbon Treaty, is not reflected in the Commission’s proposal. The Commission’s proposal is focused on the needs of the labour market. The issue of active European citizenship and participation is not adequately addressed.

In order to achieve this, the programme should encourage the participation of young people in democratic life and recognise that youth-led, volunteer-based, democratic European youth organisations are an indispensable channel for supporting active citizenship and for developing young people’s skills and competences. Providing support to youth organizations would fulfil both the needs of the labour market and of an active and inclusive European society.

Another important aspect for AEGEE-Europe is the co-management of the programme: AEGEE-Europe strongly believes that the new programme should be an effective instrument for including young people as co-managers and partners at all levels of the programme, including youth organisations that represent them and their needs.

In conclusion, AEGEE-Europe appreciates the efforts of the European Commission for the programme “Erasmus for All”, but strongly underlines the importance of maintaining also “Youth in Action” as an independent programme focused on personal development, non-formal education and informal learning of young people, active European citizenship and support to the wide range of youth organisations that represent the diversity of youth in Europe. This independent programme should encourage the participation of all young people in democratic life; it should recognise that youth organisations are an indispensable channel for supporting active citizenship inEuropeand for developing young people’s skills and competences.