Parliament's rapporteur Marielle de Sarnez (ALDE, FR) said, during Monday evening's debate in Strasbourg: ""It is a good programme, and considering the difficult times we are going through, this is giving a positive image of Europe in the rest of the world." She underlined the importance of ensuring a balanced participation in both gender and the countries the students come from. For the moment, she pointed out, there is a majority of students coming from Asia, and more should be done to ensure that more students from other parts of the world participate.
Following today's vote and agreement with the Council of Ministers, the new Programme should be able to begin as planned at the start of 2009. In the debate on Monday evening, Commissioner Figel said: "As soon as the legislative procedure is finalised, we will launch our call for proposals, in order to ensure the smooth continuation of existing courses and the selection of new programmes".
European students also to gain scholarships
The Erasmus Mundus programme seeks to attract the best-qualified students and academics from non-EU countries by offering high-quality masters or doctoral programmes created by consortia of universities from at least three different countries. The programme also seeks to create partnerships between universities within and beyond Europe, as well as promoting European higher education internationally. Students from non-EU countries can obtain scholarships for Masters or doctorate programmes offered by the participating universities. For the first time in the new funding stream from 2009, European students will also be able to apply for scholarships to participate in Erasmus Mundus Masters programmes, though the majority of scholarships will still go to students and academics from countries outside the EU.
MEPs suggest simplified visa procedures
To facilitate exchanges within the programme, the European Parliament adopted amendments to the programme encouraging Member States to consider simplifying their visa procedures. MEPs also stressed that students should be informed of their initial study destination as soon as the decision has been taken so they have the time to obtain visas.
Linguistic diversity and access for all
As linguistic diversity is a high priority for the Community in higher education, MEPs have insisted that the Masters and doctoral programmes should provide for the use of at least two EU languages, and the students should be offered language preparation. MEPs also wish to facilitate access to the programme in accordance with the principle of equal opportunities and non-discrimination and to ensure a balanced participation, in terms of both gender and the countries of origin of those participating.
In the previous Erasmus Mundus programme (2004-8), 4424 scholarships were granted to students from outside the EU; 323 universities took part, 265 of them in Europe.
The funding of the first Erasmus Mundus Programme amounted to €230m - the 2009-2013 programme will have €980m. (The classic Erasmus programme - for academic mobility within the EU - has a budget for 2007-2013 of € 3,114 million.)
- Further information :
Education and mobility: action programme for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries (Erasmus Mundus), 2009-2013
Text, as adopted by the EP, will be available here (click on 21 October)
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