The European Union has ended its celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ program by publishing a report of its achievements during last year. The 2016 report confirms the key role played by the program in building a more resilient Europe built on common European values. The Erasmus budget had increased by 7.5% compared to the previous year with the EU having invested a record €2.27 billion to support 725,000 Europeans with mobility grants to study, train, teach, work or volunteer abroad.
Last year, 21,000 projects received funding involving 79,000 education, training and youth organizations – 15% more projects than in 2015. The report also demonstrated that the program was on track to meet its target of supporting 3.7% of young people in the EU between 2014 and 2020 and that it made a major contribution to wider social challenges by promoting social inclusion, ensuring that young people acquire social, civic and intercultural competences and learn think critically. A specific program has also been developed to target refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and there are proposals to launch policies and strategies to prevent violent radicalization and foster the inclusion of disadvantaged learners including people from migrant backgrounds.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, commented that the program is a pinnacle for unity in Europe, contributing to strengthening the resilience of individuals and the European society. To make the most out of this initiative, European leaders are working towards a European Education Area to make mobility a reality for all by 2025, thus “doubling the number of Erasmus+ participants and reaching out to people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds”.