This year is the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus+ Programme, which started life in 1987 as a student mobility programme and has since helped millions of young people to travel abroad to study and work, gaining invaluable experience and skills but, vitally, building understanding and links across borders. It’s wonderful that over the 30 years so many students from across the country have benefitted from Erasmus+, with over 50,000 students participating in the programme over the last couple of years alone. This important anniversary is being marked with numerous events across Europe including here at the European Parliament.
Widely recognised as one of the most successful EU programmes, Erasmus+ aims to reduce early school leaving and unemployment among young people whilst promoting adult learning, especially for new skills required in the labour market. Participants cover a huge range of subjects while frequently learning a new language or finding a new passion for volunteering.
From a European perspective, Erasmus+ provides a concrete example of the positive impact of European integration and international outreach. The programme promotes cooperation and mobility between young people across member states and the EU's partner countries. As Dr. Pablo Biderbost of the Bringing Europe Closer project says: 'Erasmus+ helps to create institutional capabilities that enable European values such as solidarity, free speech and equality to be shared'.
This anniversary coincides with another important milestone of European history: the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which established a common market where people, goods, services and capital can move freely and created conditions for prosperity and stability for European citizens. Both anniversaries celebrate a common goal: bringing understanding and collaboration to countries that have spent too many centuries warring with each other. We should celebrate that achievement and, in particular, all that Erasmus+ and its millions of participants, both at home and abroad, have achieved thus far.