In 2017, the EU invested a record €2.6 billion in the programme, which represents an increase of 13% compared to 2016. This made it possible to provide more opportunities for young people than ever before. The figures show that Erasmus+ remains well on track to meetits target of supporting 3.7% of young people in the EU between 2014 and 2020. The report also highlights that the programme is becoming more open for people from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as smaller organisations.
Support for the programme has never been stronger. During a successful campaign in 2017 to celebrate 30 years of Erasmus, more than 750,000 people took part in 1,900 events in 44 countries, highlighting the role of Erasmus+ and its predecessors in enabling young people to develop their competences and experience what it feels like to be European.
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “As we celebrated three decades of Erasmus, 2017 became a year in which the programme once again broadened horizons, fostered cultural exchanges, and opened new opportunities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport. The figures published today confirm the pivotal role Erasmus+ is playing in building a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient Europe. We want to continue with an even bigger and better programme under the new long-term EU budget to ensure that we invest more in young Europeans from an even broader range of backgrounds.”
In 2017, Erasmus+ provided support for a record almost 800,000 people to study, train or volunteer abroad, up by 10% compared to 2016. It also funded cooperation between education institutions, youth organisations and businesses. Overall, 84,700 organisations participated in 22,400 projects. The programme enabled more than 400,000 higher education students, trainees and staff to spend a period learning, training or teaching abroad during the 2016/2017 academic year, including around 34,000 students and staff who received grants to go to and from partner countries across the world. France, Germany and Spain were the top three sending countries for students, while Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom were the three most popular student destinations.
The annual report highlights once again that Erasmus+ is far more than a programme for university students and staff. It also continued to deliver for vocational training learners and staff (160,000), young people and youth workers (158,000), and adult education staff (6,400). Furthermore, cooperation projects also benefitted school teachers and staff (47,000) and their pupils (110,000). In addition to the annual European Week of Sport, the programme financed 162 sports projects involving 930 organisations including ten not-for-profit sports events.
Erasmus+ is also becoming increasingly accessible to those who stand to gain the most, by offering more opportunities and granting additional funding to participants from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. In 2017, almost 21,000 disadvantaged students and staff took part in Erasmus+ mobility activities in higher education. This brings the total to over 67,500 disadvantaged higher education participants since 2014, including almost 2,000 participants with special needs.
The programme also evolved in 2017 to integrate EU strategic priorities for digital skills across the areas of education, training and youth, including through innovative curriculum and teaching methodologies. For example, the new Erasmus+ mobile app has been downloaded and installed more than 55,000 times since its launch in mid-2017; and more than 380,000 people have benefitted from online language training since 2014, among them almost 5,500 newly arrived refugees
Erasmus+ and its predecessors are among the most successful EU programmes. Since 1987, they have been offering young people in particular opportunities to gain new experiences by going abroad. The current Erasmus+ programme, running from 2014 to 2020, has a budget of €14.7 billion and will provide opportunities for 3.7% of young people in the EU to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. The geographical scope of the programme has expanded from 11 countries in 1987 to 33 currently (all 28 EU Member States as well as Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). The programme is also open to partner countries across the world.
In November 2017, EU leaders agreed to step up mobility and exchanges, including through a substantially strengthened, more inclusive and extended Erasmus+ programme for all categories of learners.
In May 2018, the Commission presented its proposal for an ambitious new Erasmus programme, seeking to double the budget to €30 billion in the EU's next long-term budget for the period 2021-2027. The aim is to triple the numbers of participants to 12 million, and to make the programme even more inclusive and accessible to people from a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as more international.
The programme will also underpin the work towards establishing a European Education Area by 2025, a political priority for the EU to make sure that learning, studying and doing research is not hampered by borders.
For more information
Erasmus+: Annual Report 2017, general and country-specific factsheets