By Frieder Kuhne and Karina Rinaldi-Doligez. Originally published on 2012/11/15
The European student exchange programme, established in 1987, is threatened by the Member States’ non-commitment to stick to their budgetary obligations.
Alain Lamassoure, Member of the European Parliament and chair of the Committee on Budgets has continuously announced that the programme is running out of money and needs an additional 90millions in 2012 in order to avoid shortcomings in 2013. Since the programme had been introduced by the European Commission in 1987, the number of students and academic staff using its valuable budgetary support has increased consistently and reached a new record in 2011 with a total number of 231,410 students receiving funding.
However, apart from all these promising numbers, the Union and the programme is on the crossroads right now. Although Lamassoure said that Erasmus will very much be secured in the next Union’s budget, the discussions evolving around it tend to show one thing: In times of crisis the Union turns out to be more intergovernmental than ever since the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. Protectionism is rising among the Members of the Union; and therefore areas that are drawn to design Europe’s future, such as Erasmus, are not excluded from this selfish behaviour.
Thus, students in Europe can only hope that the European Parliament, Council of Ministers and the Member States will recognize the importance of the 25-year-old programme, which has brought the meaning of a European identity even more closer together than the economic integration would have ever been able to.
As a student foundation aiming at discussing EU policies, this issue concerns the boards of EST and all our followers. Discussions on the matter is still ongoing at the Parliament (MEPs debated shortfalls in funding ERASMUS programme in October, 25, two days after the Commission was expected to propose a supplementary budget for 2012. See the EP press release here).
Please let us (and everybody reading the post) know your opinion about this.
Frieder Kuhne and Karina Rinaldi-Doligez, from EST Editorial Office.