Brussels, 22 January 2014
Commissioner Vassiliou launches Erasmus+ in Cyprus
Erasmus+, the EU's new funding programme for education, training, youth and sport, will be launched in Nicosia on Friday (24 Jan) by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The event at the Filoxenia Conference Centre (10.00-13.45) is organised by the European Commission, the national agency responsible for implementing Erasmus+ and the Cyprus Youth Board (ONEK). 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 previously. Around 15 000 Cypriots are expected to benefit from Erasmus+, which builds on the success of the Erasmus student exchange scheme and other training and youth programmes. On Friday evening, the Commissioner will meet Dr Clea Hadjistephanou-Papaellina, the new chair of the Cyprus sports association (KOA), to discuss funding opportunities for grassroots sport.
"I urge my fellow Cypriots to take full advantage of the grants available under Erasmus+. The budget increase we have secured means that many more people will benefit from EU support to gain international experience that will boost their skills, personal development and employability. The new programme will also provide funding to set up or improve cooperation between education and employers; these partnerships will contribute to addressing the skills mismatch which is a major cause of the high youth levels of youth unemployment faced by many countries in the EU, including Cyprus," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
Who benefits from Erasmus+?
Who benefits from Erasmus+ in Cyprus?
Between 2007 and 2013, around 10 000 Cypriot 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 15 000 (50% more) could benefit from Erasmus+ over the seven years.
Cyprus will receive a total of €8.6 million in 2014 from Erasmus+, a 14% increase compared with the funding it received in 2013. It is envisaged that, as with other participating countries, the annual allocation will increase each year up to 2020. Cyprus 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 nearly six million young people are unemployed in the EU, with levels above 50% or more in Greece, Spain and Croatia and nearly 40% in Cyprus. 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.
For more information:
Commissioner Vassiliou's website
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU