EU budget: Commission proposes to double funding for Erasmus programme

Gerry O'Sullivan

Posted: 1 June, 2018

The European Commission has adopted its proposal for the next Erasmus programme which aims to see a doubling of the budget to €30 billion for the period 2021-2027.  The proposal will now feature as part of the discussions on the budgetary framework for 2021-2028 before agreement is reached.

The Erasmus programme already enables millions of young Europeans to study, train or learn abroad while broadening their experience and awareness of Europe, and increasing their future chances on the job market. With doubled funding, this programme will be even more effective in supporting key political objectives such as building a European Education Area by 2025, empowering young people and promoting a European identity through youth, education and culture policies.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “We must strengthen Erasmus. For over 30 years it has been one of the most important programmes because it shows everyone what integration is all about. It is the very essence of a borderless Europe. Through Erasmus we give our young people more opportunities. This is why we are proposing to double our funding. Every euro that we invest in Erasmus is an investment in our future – in the future of a young person, teacher or trainee and in the future of Europe. As a former Erasmus student, I speak from my own experience.

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “I am very proud that this Commission has proposed to double the budget for Erasmus – this is by far the biggest increase for any programme in the EU budget we have tabled. We need to be bold. This programme will support the big ambitions we have for empowering young people, building a European Education Area and strengthening our European identity. I call on Member States and the European Parliament to support us and make sure we can build the best future for our citizens.”

The Commission is proposing to increase the Erasmus budget to €30 billion from 2021-2027 with €25,9 billion for education and training, €3,1 billion for youth and €550 million for sport.

The aim of the Commission’s proposal is to:

  • Increase the number of beneficiaries: Doubling the programme’s budget will make it possible to support up to 12 million people between 2021-2027 – three times as many as in the current financing period. Beneficiaries include school pupils, higher education students, trainees, teachers, trainers, youth workers, sports coaches, and also learners in vocational education and training and adult learning staff, including those participating in ErasmusPro.
  • Reach out to people from all social backgrounds: Through new formats and easier access for smaller and grassroots organisations, the new programme will make it easier for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate.
  • Build stronger relations with the rest of the world: Mobility and cooperation with third countries will also be boosted, through a combination of physical and virtual mobility.
  • Focus on promoting forward-looking study fields: The strengthened programme will give more attention to study fields such as renewable energy, climate change, environmental engineering, artificial intelligence or design.
  • Promote a European identity with a travel experience: The new DiscoverEU initiative will give young people opportunities to discover Europe’s cultural heritage and diversity.

Next steps

A swift agreement on the overall long-term EU budget and its sectoral proposals is essential to ensure that EU funds start delivering results on the ground as soon as possible.

Delays could put into question the implementation of the first year of the Erasmus programme. This would mean that close to 1 million people could not go on abroad and that hundreds of thousands of EU-funded projects in education, training youth and sport could not start on time.

An agreement on the next long-term budget in 2019 would provide for a seamless transition between the current long-term budget (2014-2020) and the new one and would ensure predictability and continuity of funding to the benefit of all.


The proposal for the Erasmus programme is part of the “Investing in People” chapter of the EU’s long-term budget proposal which the Commission presented on 2 May 2018.

The current Erasmus+ programme with a budget of €14.7 billion runs from 2014-2020. Founded in 1987, Erasmus has to date supported more than 9 million students, learners, apprentices and volunteers.

For More Information  

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Erasmus website


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