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ESU wants significant increase in EU budget for higher education

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) is calling for a significant increase in the next EU long-term budget (2014-2020) for education, research and social policies. Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson-elect said: “Without substantial investments in education, research and social policies, the EU can forget about a blooming Union with a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Member states and the European Parliament should keep this in mind while they discuss the Commission’s proposals.”

The thug of war on the EU budget will expectedly kick off on 29 or 30 June with proposals coming from the European Commission. Within the EU, views differ on if and by how much the EU budget should increase. Several member states are asking the EU Executive to not make any increases whereas ESU thinks that the EU leaders would be misleading the public with adopting ambitious EU2020 targets but not being willing to fund correspondingly.

ESU’s demands
ESU emphasises the European added value of learning mobility and points out that more money for the Erasmus programme is crucial if the EU wants to obtain its target of 20% education mobility by 2020. ESU thinks that both the average size of the grant and the availability of grants should increase. ESU will not accept a solution where mobility grants are replaced by loans, which has been contemplated by the Commission.
Furthermore, one of the two main education targets from the Europe 2020 Strategy – to reach 40% of tertiary education attainment for Europe’s young adults (30-34)- should be supported and prioritised through the Regional Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund, according to ESU. Päll: “There is no better investment to promote social inclusion and cohesion in Europe than progressive investments in access and quality of higher education.”

ESU will give its full reaction to the budget proposal once this has been officially published. The Polish EU Presidency, taking over the Union’s rotating presidency on 1 July, will lead the first half year of the negotiations. The final decisions on the budget are not likely to be made before the end of 2012 as also the European Parliament has to give its green light. ESU emphasises the importance of students’ representatives’ involvement in the decision-making process.


Published: 29 June 2011

For more information, please contact:

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson-elect: +32479591499 or or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894 or


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