This page offers a summary of the developments around one of the fields of EEE-YFU’s advocacy work – the development of the programme for education, training, youth and sport, commonly referred to as “Erasmus +”.
What is "Erasmus +”?
Since 2007, EEE-YFU had been financially supported by the Youth in Action programme of the European Union. Youth in Action was the EU’s main programme to support youth work at both European and national levels. As the Youth in Action programme is ending in 2013, EU institutions have been working on developing a new programme for education, training, youth and sport that now replaces Youth in Action from 2014 to 2020. It is called "Erasmus +".
Why is the programme important?
The format of the new EU programme is crucial for the future of many international non-governmental youth organisations (INGYOs) such as EEE-YFU, since it is for most of them one of the main funding sources. Specifically, EEE-YFU is mainly supported by grants for training courses and seminars, administrative (operating) grants for its day-to-day work and European Voluntary Service projects.
What has been achieved?
To make sure that European funding would still be provided after 2013 for EEE-YFU’s work and organisations of educational activities for member organisations, EEE-YFU wored to advocate for a youth-friendly programme that would continue to provide the needed support. While the first draft proposal by the European Commission in the end of 2011 was rather unfavourable for INGYOs, the voice of youth organisations was heard by the European Parliament and several improvements were included in the final version of the text:
- operating grants, which were at a risk to be unavailable for European youth organisations are part of the programme. EEE-YFU therefore still has the capacity to support national YFU organisations;
- sectors are into separate chapters (e.g. Youth, schools, higher education, etc). EEE-YFU’s competition for grants is thus now sectorial and not cross-sectorial, which increases chances of receiving operating and project-specific funding;
- key concepts important to YFU were recognised and included in the proposal, i.e. inter-cultural learning, intercultural dialogue, non-formal learning and cultural awareness;
- the focus on promoting pupil mobility is explicitly included, meaning that the there is a stronger legal basis for the Comenius Individual Pupil Mobility Programme.
- Consistent implmentation of Erasmus+ accross Europe: with Erasmus+ Programme now decentralized (compared to the Youth in Action programme), it is crucial to ensure that there are no discrepancies and in the way National Agencies award grants to applicant organisations. EEE-YFU emphasizes this issue and calls for an active role of the Commission and European civil society platforms in monitoring funding and ensuring fair and consistent allocation.
- Recognition of Volunteer Time Contributions: at the moment, only the European Youth Foundation allows organisations to take into account the time spent by their volunteers as a contribution to the co-funding of a project. On the occasion of the International Year of Volunteers in 2011, many volunteer-based organisations leveraged the recognition of Volunteer Time Contributions to the attention of grant-making bodies, including the European Commission that manages the Erasmus + Programme.