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The European Commission, in developing programmes aimed at improving the general conditions of the European countries, wanted to dedicate a specific programme to education, youth and sport. The Erasmus+ programme covers all these fields and it will last until December 2020.


Fighting high levels of unemployment – particularly among young people – is one of the most urgent tasks for European governments. Too many young people leave school prematurely running a high risk of being unemployed and socially marginalised. The same risk threatens many adults with low skills. Technologies are changing the way in which society operates, and there is a need to ensure the best use is made of them. EU businesses need to become more competitive through talent and innovation.

Europe needs more cohesive and inclusive societies which allow citizens to play an active role in democratic life. Education, training, youth work and sport are key to promote common European values, foster social integration, enhance intercultural understanding and a sense of belonging to a community, and to prevent violent radicalisation. Erasmus+ is an effective instrument to promote the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds, including newly arrived migrants.

Another challenge relates to the development of social capital among young people, the empowerment of young people and their ability to participate actively in society, in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to “encourage the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe“.

The Erasmus+ Programme is designed to support Programme Countries’ efforts to efficiently use the potential of Europe’s talent and social assets in a lifelong learning perspective, linking support to formal, non-formal and informal learning throughout the education, training and youth fields. The Programme also enhances the opportunities for cooperation and mobility with Partner Countries, notably in the fields of higher education and youth.

In accordance with one of the new elements introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, Erasmus+ also supports activities aiming at developing the European dimension in sport, by promoting cooperation between bodies responsible for sports. The Programme promotes the creation and development of European networks, providing opportunities for cooperation among stakeholders and the exchange and transfer of knowledge and know-how in different areas relating to sport and physical activity. This reinforced cooperation will notably have positive effects in developing the potential of Europe’s human capital by helping reduce the social and economic costs of physical inactivity.


As stated by the European Commission, the main aims of the Erasmus+ programme are:

  • the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education;
  • the overall objectives of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field;
  • the development of the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport;
  • the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In doing so, the overall programme has been divided into different categories based on specific areas of action.


As stated before, the programme is divided into 3 main actions; each of them has specific goals to be reached.


This Key Action supports:

  • Mobility of learners and staff: opportunities for students, trainees and young people, as well as for professors, teachers, trainers, youth workers, staff of education institutions and civil society organisations to undertake a learning and/or professional experience in another country;
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees: high-level integrated international study programmes delivered by consortia of higher education institutions that award full degree scholarships to the best master students worldwide;
  • Erasmus+ Master Loans: higher education students from Programme Countries can apply for a loan backed up by the Programme to go abroad for a full Master Degree. Students should address themselves to national banks or student loan agencies participating in the scheme.


This Key Action supports:

  • Transnational Strategic Partnerships aimed to develop initiatives addressing one or more fields of education, training and youth and to promote innovation, exchange of experience and know-how between different types of organisations involved in education, youth, or in other relevant fields. Certain mobility activities are supported as far as they contribute to the objectives of the project;
  • Knowledge Alliances between higher education institutions and enterprises which aim to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, employability, knowledge exchange and/or multidisciplinary teaching and learning;
  • Sector Skills Alliances supporting the design and delivery of joint vocational training curricula, programmes and teaching and training methodologies, drawing on evidence of trends in a specific economic sector and skills needed in order to perform in one or more professional fields;
  • Capacity-building projects supporting cooperation with Partner Countries in the fields of higher education and youth. Capacity-building projects aim to support organisations/institutions and systems in their modernisation and internationalisation process. Certain types of capacity building projects support mobility activities as far as they contribute to the objectives of the project.


This Key Action supports:

  • Initiatives for policy innovation to stimulate innovative policy development among stakeholders and to enable public authorities to test the effectiveness of innovative policies through field trials based on sound evaluation methodologies;
  • Support to European policy tools to facilitate transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications, as well as the transfer of credits, to foster quality assurance, support validation of non-formal and informal learning, skills management and guidance. This Action also includes the support to networks that facilitate cross-European exchanges, the learning and working mobility of citizens as well as the development of flexible learning pathways between different fields of education, training and youth;
  • Cooperation with international organisations with highly recognised expertise and analytical capacity (such as the OECD and the Council of Europe), to strengthen the impact and added value of policies in the fields of education, training and youth.


The European programme is opened to two categories, participants and participating organisations:


As a general rule, participants in Erasmus+ projects must be established in a Programme Country. Some Actions, notably in the fields of higher education and youth, are also open to participants from Partner Countries. The specific conditions for participating in an Erasmus+ project depend on the type of Action concerned.

In general terms:

  • For projects relevant for the field of higher education, the main targets are: higher education students (short cycle, first, second or third cycle), higher education teachers and professors, staff of higher education institutions, trainers and professionals in enterprises;
  • For projects relevant for the field of vocational education and training, the main targets are: apprentices and students in vocational education, professionals and trainers in vocational training, staff of initial vocational education organisations, trainers and professionals in enterprises;
  • For projects relevant for the field of school education, the main targets are: school leaders, school teachers and school staff, pupils in pre-primary, primary and secondary education;
  • For projects relevant for the field of adult education, the main targets are: members of non-vocational adult education organisations, trainers, staff and learners in non-vocational adult education.


Erasmus+ projects are submitted and managed by participating organisations representing the participants. If a project is selected, the applicant organisation becomes a beneficiary of an Erasmus+ grant. Beneficiaries sign a grant agreement or are notified of a grant decision which entitles them to receive financial support for the realisation of their project (grant agreements are not signed with individual participants). Some Actions of the Programme are also open to informal groups of young people.

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