Brussels – The European Commission wants to boost funding for the Erasmus youth exchange programme under the next long-term EU budget, enabling up to 12 million people to participate during 2021-2027, it announced on Wednesday.
The Erasmus programme, which allows Europeans to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, has been billed as one of the most successful initiatives of the European Union.
Millions of people benefit
"It is the very essence of a borderless Europe," said commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen. "Every euro that we invest in Erasmus is an investment in our future," he added.
More than 9 million people have benefited from Erasmus since the programme was launched in 1987, according to the commission.
The EU's executive is proposing an overall investment of 30 billion euros (34.9 billion dollars) in Erasmus under the next long-term budget.
Controversial budget cuts
It is billing this as a doubling of current figures, although others have calculated that the increase is more modest.
EU member states and parliamentarians are squaring up for protracted negotiations over the next long-term budget, which will be hit by the departure of net contributor Britain from the EU.
The commission has proposed controversial cuts to the biggest areas of expenditure – agricultural subsidies and funding for poorer EU regions – while shifting more money towards new priorities such as security and migration.
Wednesday's long-term budget proposals also included expenditure plans for Europe's creative and cultural sectors; social funding; support for workers who have lost their jobs due to globalization; and a new fund promoting justice, rights and values across the EU.