Erasmus + celebrates its 30th anniversary!

On the 26th of January the European Commission launched its celebratory campaign on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme. It started as a student mobility programme in 1987 and has over the years been recognised as one of the most successful programmes created for the European Union. Throughout the years supported 9 million students, apprentices, volunteers, staff and youth exchanges.

The Erasmus programme itself represents the evolution and development that its participants have experienced, in that it expanded to become Erasmus + in 2014. Today Erasmus + covers a wider range of opportunities and benefits more people than ever before. The current seven year programme that stretches from 2014 to 2020 has seen an increase in its budget of 40% – a budget of €14.7 billion – in comparison to previous programmes. This reflects the institutional trust the Erasmus programme enjoys and its support in targeting 4 million people.

CESI hosted a seminar last year in 2016, co-funded under the Erasmus+ programme on the topic of “Youth and the unions: an example of participation in democratic life”.

The meeting held in Brussels, which brought together 35 young trade unionists from 7 Member States, concluded in the European Parliament with a presentation of recommendations for an enhanced participation of young people in civic processes and trade unionism, hosted by MEP Monika Vana (Greens/EFA). You can find the recommendations here.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held an open discussion with the German Representation of the European Commission on the 8th of February 2017 in Bonn, where representatives from civil society gathered to evaluate the ERASMUS program.

CESI Youth Representative Matthäus Fandrejewski praises the contribution of Erasmus to the European Integration and shares his personal experience doing a traineeship in Dublin 2009:  “The experience to work abroad, encounter different cultures and see how they work was great! I think that the public service should give more employees, especially its young professionals, opportunities to work abroad. I was one of the first in our region who went abroad to do a traineeship. It gives us an opportunity to observe and learn from the similarities and differences between our administrations.”

Mr Fandrejewski also gave a further reflection on the Erasmus programme as a whole by stating that he thinks “The Erasmus programme has not only encouraged and assisted student mobility but has enriched peoples’ lives by bringing together young people from all backgrounds, cultures and classes. All Europeans should be offered the opportunity to discover the greatness and diversity of our European continent. The Erasmus programme helps us to explore new horizons”

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Erasmus is the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, promoting a closer European relationship.  The symbolism of these two events could not come at a more timely moment, as the European Union is facing issues ranging from terrorism, high rates of youth unemployment, rise in populism and questions challenging its very existence.

As for the CESI Secretariat and member organisations, they all host individuals that have benefited from Erasmus throughout its 30 years of existence. Events will be taking place all throughout the year and all throughout the European Union, giving people the opportunity to debate how the future of the programme should look like. But let’s make 2017 the year to highlight and celebrate the positive impacts Erasmus has had!

Photo: 30th anniversary of the Erasmus Programme inside the European Parliament

© European Union 2017/EC Audiovisual Services/EP