Erasmus programme goes worldwide (codecision, establishment of programme approved)

April 9, 2003

Brussels, 08 Apr 2003

Marielle DE SARNEZ (EPP-ED, F)

Report on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision establishing a programme for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries (Erasmus World) (2004-2008) ( COM(2002) 401 - C5-0360/2002 - 2002/0165(COD))

Doc.: A5-0087/2003 [may not be available yet]

Procedure: Codecision procedure (1st reading)

Debate: 07.04.2003

Vote: 08.04.2003

Parliament adopted a resolution approving the setting up the programme.

Erasmus World, or Erasmus Mundus as the Parliament wishes to call it to emphasise multilingualism and cultural diversity. It will cover the period 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008. In addition to scholarships, the programme will be able to support partnerships between European universities and higher education establishments in third countries, the aim being to enhance Europe's attractiveness as a place to pursue higher education.

The aim of the new Erasmus programme is to enhance quality in higher education and promote intercultural understanding. The new programme is aimed not just at Europeans like the present Erasmus programme but, as its name suggests, at candidates from all over the world. It will provide scholarships for graduate students from third countries other than EEA-EFTA states and EU candidate countries, (4 200 in total) and for third-country scholars with outstanding academic and/or professional experience. (1000 scholarships for a period of three months.

The Commission is also proposing the creation of European Union Masters degrees, which would become a recognised, prestigious qualification for such study programmes in Europe. MEPs say these should be called "Erasmus Mundus Masters courses", in line with the committee's suggested title for the programme. The programme will also support mobility between the Community and non-EU countries, the acquisition of language skills and intercultural dialogue.

The Commission is proposing a budget of €200 million, which the Parliament wants to raise by 50% to a total of €300 million, provided this does not take away funding from existing programmes and remains within the limits of the financial perspective. Commissioner Reding could agree to the increase on the condition that there is a general increase in category 3 of the EU budget.

The Erasmus programme was launched in 1987 and during this academic year, the total number of students having benefited from the programme will pass the one million barrier.

Press enquiries: Pernilla Jourde (Strasbourg) tel.(33) 3 881 72420 (Brussels)  tel.(32-2) 28 43411 e-mail :

European Parliament Daily Notebook 0408

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