Brussels, 22 January 2014
Commission launches Erasmus+ in Austria
Erasmus+, the EU's new funding programme for education, training, youth and sport, was launched in Vienna today by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in the presence of Minister for Education Gabriele Heinisch, Minister for Higher Education and Economics Reinhold Mitterlehner, Minister for Youth and Family Sophie Karmasin and Minister for Sport & Defence Gerald Klug. The new programme will provide grants for more than four million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad over the next seven years. Erasmus+ will have a total budget of €14.7 billion – 40% more than under the previous programmes. Around 100 000 Austrians are expected to benefit from Erasmus+, which builds on the success of the Erasmus student exchange scheme and other training and youth programmes.
"Investing in education and training is crucial for Europe's future and its young people. The international experience gained through Erasmus+ will boost skills and employability. The budget increase we have secured means that many more people – including 50% more in Austria - can benefit from EU support for these opportunities. Erasmus+ will also invest more in building stronger partnerships between education providers and employers. We see the successful dual learning system in Austria as an excellent model which can inspire similar initiatives in other countries," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
Who benefits from Erasmus+?
Who benefits from Erasmus+ in Austria?
Between 2007 and 2013, more than 65 000 Austrian students, young people and education, training and youth staff took part in the EU's Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action programmes. It is estimated that around 100 000 (50% more) could benefit from Erasmus+ over the seven years.
Austria will receive €28 million in 2014 from Erasmus+, a 10% increase compared with the funding it received in 2013 from the Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes. It is envisaged that, as with other participating countries, the annual allocation will increase each year up to 2020. Austria can also benefit further from grants for transnational sports projects and the Jean Monnet action for European integration studies in higher education.
Erasmus+ is being launched at a time when Austria is investing in major reforms to improve education quality, results and better support for students from all socio-economic backgrounds. A particular challenge is to unlock the potential of young people from a migrant background.
26 million people across Europe are currently unemployed, including nearly 6 million young people. In a number of EU countries, the situation is acute. At the same time, there are over 2 million job vacancies, and a third of employers report difficulties in recruiting staff with the skills they need. Erasmus+ will help to address this skills gap by providing opportunities for people to study, train or gain experience abroad.
Giving students and apprentices the opportunity to study or train abroad also makes it more likely they will want, or be able, to work abroad in future, thus increasing their long-term job prospects.
The programme will also increase the quality and relevance of Europe's education, training and youth systems through support for training of education staff and youth workers, as well as stronger partnerships between education and employers.
The €14.7 billion budget takes account of future estimates for inflation. Additional funds are expected to be allocated for higher education exchanges and administrative support involving non-EU countries; the decision is due later in 2014.
Erasmus+ for the first time includes support for sport. It will allocate around €265 million over seven years to help address cross-border threats such as match fixing, violence and doping. It will also support transnational projects involving organisations in grassroots sport, promoting, for example, good governance, gender equality, social inclusion, dual careers and physical activity for all.
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