By Łukasz Lewandowski | EURACTIV.pl
The EU’s study and work abroad programmes are a boon for the economy but more should be done to ensure equality and offer opportunities to those outside university education. EURACTIV Poland reports.
In 2017, the European Union celebrates two important anniversaries. The Treaty of Rome was signed 60 years ago and 30 years ago the Erasmus programme was created. Thanks to this project nearly 5 million Europeans have had the opportunity to study abroad.
Freedom of movement is one of the most substantial achievements of the EU. Every European can go to another EU member state to study, work or just for holiday, enjoying exactly the same rights as any citizen of the country they are visiting.
To encourage Europeans to enjoy freedom of movement and the common market, the EU has created a number of educational and labour programmes, facilitating student exchanges, internships (also in the EU institutions) and voluntary scholarships.
Not just for students
The Erasmus Programme was created in order to support student mobility. This project offers an opportunity not only to study abroad, but also to create new relationships, to experience different cultures, and to improve one’s language skills.
Year on year, the number of people benefiting from scholarships has grown. Now there are 300,000 of them per year, including 14,000 students from Poland.
Erasmus, which is mainly associated with student exchange, has evolved over the years into the Erasmus+ Programme.
It currently includes, in addition to the traditional Erasmus components, further education and training projects, worker exchange programmes, support for young entrepreneurs and even sport projects.
“The mobility improves the professional potential of people in the programme and strengthens the economic efficiency of countries to which they return,” said Professor Elżbieta Kużelewska, the coordinator of the Erasmus+ exchanges at the University of Białystok, and MEP Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz (EPP).
That is why it is in the interests of Europeans, the EU member states and the Union itself to ensure common accessibility to scholarships.