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The Erasmus Programme, from 1987 to the present day

The origin of the idea of an exchange between European students happened in 1969 thanks to the intuition of the Italian Sofia Corradi.

Later, the project itself was born thanks to an initiative of the EGEE student association, called nowadays AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l'Europe). It was established by Frank Biancheri, then became president of the Newropeans trans-European movement, who in 1986-1987 convinced the French president François Mitterrand to support the birth of Erasmus. This collaboration active between AEGEE and the European Commission allowed the approval of the Erasmus Programme in 1987 which became integral part of Socrates 1994-1999 programmes, Socrates II 2000-2006 programmes and finally Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013, leading to the current Erasmus+ in 2014.

The name of this programme has more radicate explanations of the acronyme of “European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students", wording which undoubtedly underlines its educative and pro-European character, a name which represents a tribute to Erasmo da Rottermdam. He belonged to the end of XV century and he was a Dutch humanist and theologian who lived and traveled in all the soil which now we call European and who nourished the dream of a humanity joint by common cultural roots. The European Union chose such figure as symbol of an intellectual fellowship which goes beyond the boundaries between nations.

3244 university students, in June 1987, coming from 11 different States leaving for what was the prelude of the today's Erasmus Programme.

A programme which, during its history and into account for geopolitical changes which occurred over time, has enlarged its boundaries until including also non-EU countries.

Initially only 11 protagonists for expanding then to 33 or 28 EU members and 5 extra-EU; nevertheless considering also States allowed to develop only some parts of the programme they are almost a hundred in total.

The product of the Erasmus is nothing but a belonging feeling to something more than our nation, it is a programme which encourages to go over the boundaries, which donates a clear view of the reality. And it is on these reasons that the European Union is motivated to bet more every year. The budget EU funds intended to finance the Erasmus Programme 2014-2020 were 14.774 milliard euros, however the 28 March 2019 the European Parliament approved the new Erasmus 2021-2027 Programme and the proposal of the deputies was that of triple funding.

Already in May last year the Commission avanced the proposal of increasing the programme budjet to 30 milliard euros, of which 25.9 for education and training, 3.1 for young people and 550 million euros for sport. The fundings growth for the 2021-2027 period could be translated in major opportunity of mobility for more people, from students to teachers. Moreover, the Commission intends to make Erasmus (2021-2027) more effective in supporting political primary aims, between which the constitution of a "European Space Education" no later than 2025, which will allow to give more power to young and promote an European identity through the policies of youth, education and culture.

The aim of the creation of an European space is to reach a reality in which spend a study period abroad will not be an exeptional thing, but it will become the norm. At that point knowing two languages in addition to the mother tongue will no longer be a skill, a plus, but standard. Only in this way we will reach an European Union in which people will has a major perception of its European identity, of the European cultural heritage and especially of its diversity.

By Giada Pagnoni

Translated by Giorgia Melis


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