Negotiators from the European Parliament and the European Council have reached an agreement on the EU’s Erasmus+ programme for 2021-2027, to which more than €26 billion will be allocated. Compared to the previous seven years, this means an extra €2.2 billion to be invested in training through exchanges, mobility and other inclusion activities within the member states. Final approval by the European Parliament and the Council is now awaited.
Thanks to the efforts of MEPs, the programme has been made simpler and more manageable, supported by more advanced and user-friendly IT systems and less bureaucracy. Access to funding under the EU’s Regional Development Fund or Social Fund will be facilitated through a ‘Label of Excellence’, which will be awarded to quality Erasmus+ applications that failed to secure direct funding. To support those who want to join this European programme will also be the staff of Malta Business Agency with a specific consulting activity in the field of preparation and development of European projects.
The novelty of this new cycle of Erasmus+ experiences is the greater accessibility to the project also for students with low incomes, and therefore with fewer opportunities. As underlined during the presentation by the rapporteur Milan Zver and by the President of the Commission for Culture and Education, Sabine Verheyen, the Europarliament has acted with determination to obtain the supervision and a stronger decision-making role of the activities in the next seven years, and this will make the Erasmus+ programme more democratic. The focus is not only on young people with fewer opportunities due to economic circumstances, but also on people with disabilities, those living in countries geographically on the fringes of Europe who have to make more expensive journeys and migrants engaged in inclusion processes in an EU Member State.
Both the Commission and the Member States will have to develop action plans to identify barriers and support the participation of disadvantaged people. They will also be able to provide top-up grants, including advance payments for those who need to meet initial costs. According to the agreed text, projects will not be able to be rejected for higher costs because of measures that ensure inclusion.
Another important innovation concerns the opening to adults. In order to better adapt to the changes caused by green and digital transitions, accentuated by the emergence of Covid-19, as well as the need to acquire new work and life skills, the Parliament has successfully extended the scope of Erasmus+ to adults, who from 2021 will be able to participate in specific training and mobility programmes, for example to develop new digital skills.
The new Erasmus+ is also “greener”. In line with the European Green Deal, it will measure its contribution to the EU’s climate spending targets and reduce its environmental footprint, for example by promoting climate-friendly transport to participants.
This is why, in the pursuit of these objectives of innovation and sustainability, the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade, the institute of Higher Education of the Mediterranean ready to attract students of all ages from all over Europe to Malta to live a unique experience of intercultural dialogue combined with the development of new skills, will develop new projects linked to Erasmus+.