15.09.2010
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EU Council budget cut proposals threaten Commission’s student exchange ambitions

“National governments must bear the main responsibility for increased student exchange numbers”, says ESU Chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere in a reaction to today’s presentation of the Youth on the Move Communication from the European Commission.

The Communication, which will be launched at 1215 PM today, proposes several measures to improve mobility for young learners. The European Students’ Union (ESU) supports the main actions that the Commission proposes, but thinks the Commission should not have taken the current, low level of funding for EU mobility programmes for granted.

Bert Vandenkendelaere said: ”We think they should have explained explicitly which budgetary increases are needed to improve mobility for young European learners.”

Even the successful Erasmus student mobility programme is threatened by the European Council’s EUR 25,5 million cut proposals for the 2011 budget of the Lifelong Learning Programme, which includes Erasmus.

According to a recent study by a Dutch centre for higher education studies, financial constraints are the main barrier for students who want to study abroad. The report was presented to the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee on September 2. The report also recommends that students should not have higher study costs than they already have today.

Vandenkendelaere said: ”This contradicts the Commission’s probe into the possibility of increasing student debt by creating a European-wide loans scheme, instead of increasing grants.

”European governments have agreed, within the Bologna Process framework, to a target of 20 per cent mobile students by 2020.  If they want to reach this, these governments should match the EU schemes with much more national budgetary support.”

For more information, please contact:
Bert Vandenkendelaere, ESU Chairperson on +32473669892 or bert@esu-online.org
Olav Øye, ESU Communications Manager on +32495101879 or olav@esu-online.orgRead ESU’s full reaction to the Youth on the Move Communication on esu-online.org from tomorrow (September 16)

Published 15 September, 2010

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