Erasing Erasmus

Nieuws | de redactie
25 september 2012 | What starts out as simplification, can sometimes end up adding yet another bureaucratic layer. The 'Erasmus for all' proposal threatens to become a case in point.

In order to reach more impact with Europe’s educationalprogrammes, the European Commission came up with Erasmus for all in 2011. This proposal intended atransition from a sector-based approach (with a special programmefor every type of education) to an approach focusing on ‘learningmobility’, ‘cooperation for innovation’ and ‘support for policyreform’.

Member States in favour, EP against

All 27 Member States fully agreed with the proposed direction whenthey discussed the new Erasmus proposal in Council last May.However, as recent debates in the European Parliament show, thetransition is not favored nearly as much there.

Currently the EU hosts an abundance of different educationprogrammes, whether they are intra-European (Erasmus), worldwide(Erasmus Mundus), regional (Tempus, Alfa, Edulink) or bilateral(with the US and Canada for instance). From a policy viewpoint itmakes sense to merge all these programmes into one, especiallysince the brand name ‘Erasmus’ is particularly well recognized inall European countries and even outside the EU.

Back to the old days

These arguments did not find a willing ear in theEuropean Parliament. Rapporteur Doris Pack (Christian Democrats,Germany) recently wrote a draft report in which as she proposes to erase the humanistfrom the title altogether and call the programme ‘YESEurope’. 

Under this ‘YES Europe’-heading she subsequently reintroducesall the existing programmes: ‘Comenius’ for school education,’Erasmus’ for higher education, ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ for vocationaleducation and training and ‘Grundtvig’ for adult learning. In fact,the report is a rather complicated way of saying that everythingshould stay as it was before.

49 different goals

According to the rapporteur, restoring the oldheadings “Doesn’t change the simplification intended in theproposal”. But Liberal colleague Morten Løkkegaard(Denmark) pointed out that the reintroduction of the oldprogrammes, in combination with the three new actions, would leadto a total of 49 different programme goals, “In fact adding anotheradministrative layer.”

Løkkegaard added: “I think we as a committee should take a deepbreath and reflect on why we are doing this.” Furthermore hestated that within the Liberal Group there is consensus that theCommission proposal is in fact a good proposal.

On the 6th of November the European Parliament will bevoting in plenary on the proposal ‘Erasmus for all’.

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