Erasmus under threat, ESU calls for an urgent solution
BRUSSELS – Students who go on an Erasmus exchange in the second semester of 2012-2013 might not receive enough funding from their national Erasmus agencies. This was revealed by a news report from AFP, on 2 October. Karina Ufert, Chair of the European Students’ Union (ESU), said: “We urge the European Commission to make haste with their so called Global Transfer Proposal and solve the current financial shortcomings of the European Social Fund by using money from underspent EU funds.”
She added: “On top of this we need a long-term solution that protects funding for all next generations of Erasmus students. We call upon the EU member states to recognise the importance of European student mobility programmes while deciding on the next multiannual financial framework for 2014-2020.”
The EU’s budgetary authority voted insufficient payments in the EU’s budget for 2012, affecting all spending of the EU. In order to secure funding for the EU funds, under which the Erasmus scheme falls, the Council and European Parliament (EP) need to make amendments to the budget. However, up until now, this did not take place, threatening future Erasmus grants.
The EU’s seven net-contributors, Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, have refused to increase expenditure in the 2013 budget by 6.8%, which explains the current financial shortcomings of the EU Executive. According to AFP, the French center-right MEP Alain Lamassoure, chair of the EP’s Budget Committee, said on 2 October that “the ESF is bankrupt and cannot refund member states.”
Problems for students
Students who go abroad during the first semester of 2012-2013 will not have problems since national Erasmus agencies already received enough funds from the Commission to cover their grants. However, if the lack of payment persists, there might be a problem for students who are abroad during the second semester of 2012-2013.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 38 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.