Erasmus for All?

By | May 16, 2012 at 7:33 am | Beyond AEGEE | Tags: , ,

On the 23rd of November 2011, the European Commission officially presented the proposal of “Erasmus for All” (E4A), the new program that will replace our beloved “Youth in Action” for upcoming years 2014-2020, gathering the areas of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth in one same program.

As you might be aware, the current Youth in Action (which is the Program of EU Commission for 2007-2013) gives a lot of importance to Non Formal Education (NFE), active citizenship and empowerment of young people to take ownership and develop their own projects, which will contribute to the big picture of European Integration. It allows young people to manage and implement their own projects and ideas, as well as supports youth organizations and civil society entities to carry out their work by providing operational grants, like the one we receive every year for AEGEE-Europe.

The Multiannual Financial Framework presented by the European Commission for the new proposal is quite good, because there has been a huge increase in the budget.

However, there are some gaps in the European Commission’s proposal, which are not so good from young people´s point of view, specially for all of us belonging to International Youth NGOs (IYNGOs).

In few words, “E4A” is based on education and training, focusing on formal higher education in order to make young people more employable. The proposal focuses mainly on the needs of the labor market, without mentioning the importance of Non Formal Education for the development of our youth as active citizens, it removes the co-management of young people in the project, and very importantly, it removes the support of operational grants for youth organizations.

If this proposal were approved, it would mean that organizations like AEGEE-Europe would lose almost half of their annual budget, which would damage them and their work and in some cases could even make them disappear.

There is a fear for the Youth sector to disappear under the ERASMUS brand, as there is no clear separate budget line for youth in the proposal.

Here you can find some of the main differences between the two programs:

-pilot program for higher education -25 years of history in youth projects
-no clear activities included in European Commission’s proposal -supports youth initiatives and youth democratic projects
-support to European NGOs with grants is not mentioned in the proposal, therefore not guaranteed -supports European NGOs with grants
-based on education, but nothing mentioned about non-formal learning -based on non-formal learning

As you might know, an Advocacy Team has been formed by AEGEE-Europe in order to work on AEGEE’s opinion. AEGEE-Europe stands for an independent program for Youth with a complete separate budget. A program which will still give importance to NFE and empowerment of young Europeans, allowing them to become co-managers and have an impact on the society with their initiatives.

The process goes as following: Now the EU Commission has sent the proposal, so now it is up to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to decide whether this proposal will be accepted. AEGEE-Europe as well as most IYNGOs together with the European Youth Forum are lobbying for an INDEPENDENT YOUTH CHAPTER OR PROGRAM. Check the campaign:

The ultimate goal is to convince the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to establish an independent program or chapter inside the current proposal that will continue the values of “Youth in Action,” assuring that young people’s implication in European issues will still be supported, both financially and socially.

So until now, the task of the Advocacy Team has been, together with locals, to contact all the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) of different countries where AEGEE is present. If we convince our national MEPs, they will later on vote for what we want in the Parliament. We were the ones who voted for them to be there. They will listen to us.

What the Advocacy Team would mostly appreciate is more help from everyone who feels that “Youth in Action” needs another chance. Having more volunteers in the Advocacy Team means more countries covered.

Until now we have the following countries covered:

Germany: Kathrin Renner (AEGEE-Passau), Holger Schmitt (AEGEE-Berlin), Max van Bahlen and Stephan Noll (AEGEE-Mannheim).

Czech Republic : Pavel Zbornik (AEGEE-Praha)

France: Lucille Rieux (AEGEE-Toulouse)

Latvia : Diana Ondža (AEGEE-Riga)

The Netherlands: Marleen Dijkhoff (AEGEE-Utrecht)

Romania: Gabriela Motroc and Olimpia Parje (AEGEE-Bucaresti)

Italy: Alfredo Sellitti and Claudia Fiorentino (AEGEE-Europe)

Bulgaria: Diana Yolova and Liliya Buyukliyska (AEGEE-Sofia)

Spain: Luis Alvarado Martínez (AEGEE- Las Palmas),Miguel Gallardo (AEGEE-Alicante) and NetCom team.

Hungary: Réka Salamon (AEGEE-Debrecen)

Greece: Manos Valasis (AEGEE-Peiraias)


What do you have to do after you offer yourself as a volunteer? Basically talk to relevant decision-makers in your country and try to convince them to be on the same boat with us. Their approvals bring us one step closer to having the independent Youth program saved.

Not to mention that your help will give AEGEE the visibility needed to really make a difference in the attempt to save “Youth in Action:” the more we talk about it, the more high-profile we get!

Can you imagine how it would be to have so many people struggling for the same cause?

We do and we want you all in!

This is the time to really fight for what we want! The voice of the Youth in Europe must be heard!

Gabriela Motroc and Luis Alvarado Martinez,

On behalf of the Advocay Team

Written by Luis Alvarado Martinez, AEGEE-Las Palmas

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