European Commission: Erasmus €90 mln short

Nieuws | de redactie
18 oktober 2012 | Students moving abroad in the second semester could well face financial problems. The Erasmus Programme has a €90 million deficit for 2012 alone. Will member states chip in to save Europe's flagship programme?

While the CULT committee in the European Parliament was busy discussingwhether or not ‘Erasmus for all’ would be an apt name for therevised educational mobility programme, in the outside world, manynervous postings on websites announced the bankruptcy of theErasmus programme.

Member states demand reimbursement

The European Commission now admits that it was recently forcedto request an additional €180 million from the EU budget to meetits commitments under the LifeLongLearning programme (LLP) up tothe end of 2012. The shortfall in the case of Erasmus this yearamounts to around half of this sum, €90 million.

The deficit in the 2012 budget means that the Commission has notbeen able to reimburse payment claims from national agencies forLLP grants totalling over €118 million.

Claims have been filed by the national agencies from: Austria(€6.3 million), Belgium, French-speaking community (€3 million),Belgium, Dutch-speaking community (€4 million), Czech Republic (€7million), Germany (€32 million), Ireland (€2.2 million), Estonia(€2.75 million), Lithuania (€4.3 million), Poland (€29.5 million),Slovenia (€2.7 million), Slovak Republic (€5 million) and UK (€19million).

Interestingly, some of the countries that are now claimingreimbursements are the same ones that want to cut the EU budgetwith – sometimes – 10%.

Unpaid bills from last year

As a reason for the budget deficits, the European Commissionargues that the 2012 budget that was agreed on by member states andby the European Parliament (€129.1 billion) turned out lower thatthe budget original proposed by the Commission (€132.7billion).

Also, the 2012 budget had to cover some €5 billion in unpaidbills held over from the previous 2011 EU budget, which wasunderfunded as well.

It is expected that Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski willpropose an ‘amending’ budget later this month to bridge thedeficits, but thus far the three institutions (EP, Council andCommission) have not reached an agreement.

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