garagErasmus keeps on the lookout for the translation of Gabriel’s vows into new concrete measures to make the Erasmus+ programme more inclusive and results-oriented.

 On Monday evening, the EU Commissioner-Designate for Innovation and Youth Mariya Gabriel offered a Hearing to the members of the European Parliament ITRE and CULT Committees detailing her programme for the 2019-2024 period.

Gabriel will hold a broad portfolio that does not only cover innovation & youth areas but also other key ones such as research, education, culture, youth and sports. She will also be responsible for implementing the new Creative Europe, HorizonEurope and Erasmus+ programmes.

Gabriel’s portfolio seeks to strengthen ties between education, research and innovation (the known as Knowledge Triangle). However, garagErasmus is not yet convinced that a single Commissioner can take a leading role to effectively implement
all the above-mentioned policies. In fact, research and innovation topics and the future scope of the Horizon Europe programme almost monopolised the hearing, with limited scope for education and universities. Gabriel did not even point out neither education nor universities in the list of challenges she is seeking to face during her initial speech of the hearing.

garagErasmus also missed references to the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme, as previously recommended by DG EAC’s, a tool that would be crucial to implementing our Erasmus Alumni network.

Nevertheless, the Commissioner-Designate made many references to the Erasmus+ programme during the hearing, and gave it as the example of a flagship programme of the Union, also identifying it as a tool to make young people aware of cultural diversity. She also mentioned the crucial role that thousands of unique Erasmus and Erasmus+ co-funded projects played at the time of promoting social inclusion and preventing radicalisation.

garagErasmus also celebrates Gabriel’s vows to take advantage of the additional funding for the Erasmus+ programme (EC President Von der Leyen promised to triple its funding for the upcoming 2021-2027 period, as proposed by the European Parliament in March 2019) in order to make it more inclusive towards participants from disadvantaged backgrounds – making education accessible for all, with a special emphasis to minorities – but also to students from vocational training and teaching staff, especially language teachers.

Gabriel also proposed innovative ideas, such as the implementation of a European Student Card for 2021, but no additional concrete actions were announced regarding Educational matters. Despite all her references to the European Education and University areas, she did not mention the next steps to effectively implement them.

garagErasmus is looking forward to the content and measures proposed by new European Commission work plan 2020, and also other concrete actions to implement all the Commissioner-Designate’s announcements.