EDUCATION: COUNCIL ADOPTS ERASMUS MUNDUS PROGRAMME.
EU Education, Youth and Culture Ministers unanimously agreed on November 24 to set up the Erasmus Mundus programme with a budget of Euro 230 million. The programme will run for five years, from January 2004 to December 2008 and will aim to open up Europe's universities to students throughout the world. The Education Council adopted the amendments made by the European Parliament at its second reading on October 21, not least to raise the programme's budget. The Commissions original proposed budget was Euro 200 million, but EU Education Ministers had tried to push the figure down to Euro 180 million at their May 5 Council meeting. This was a disappointment to both the Commission and MEPs, who had originally pushed for Euro 300 million. Following lengthy talks between Parliaments Rapporteur Marielle de Sarnez (EPP-ED/France) the compromise budget of Euro 200 million was reached and adopted by the Culture Committee on September 30. The budget agreed in Council will nevertheless be subject to review by Parliament for the period 2006-2008.
The aim of the programme, based on Article 149 of the Treaty (education policy) is to create European centres of higher education, while speeding up the process of qualification recognition. Through calls for proposals, the EU will provide financial aid for the establishment of EU Masters programmes, which will bring together at least three universities in different Member States. The idea is that they would become a recognised, prestigious qualification for such study programmes in Europe. Erasmus Mundus will also provide grants for more than 4,000 postgraduate students from non-EU countries as well as 1,000 scholars. The programme will support partnerships between European universities and higher education establishments in other countries, so as to enhance Europe's attractiveness as a place to pursue higher education. The programme will also support mobility between the Community and non-EU countries, the acquisition of language skills and intercultural dialogue. Education Commissioner, Viviane Reding has said that the scheme will hopefully make Europe a ocentre of excellence in world-wide educationo.
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|Date:||Nov 26, 2003|
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