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European youth study and sport package agreed

19 November 2013

European youth study and sport package agreed

The European Parliament today approved a comprehensive package of funding measures in the field of education, training, and sport which will cover youth study and training programmes through until 2020.

The European Parliament today approved a comprehensive package of funding measures in the field of education, training, and sport which will cover youth study and training programmes through until 2020.

The so-called Erasmus for All programme was supported by ECR MEPs after their pressure led to a significant improvement in support for grassroots sport.

Negotiation also brought down the overall cost to taxpayers by more than €4 billion to €13 billion

Emma McClarkin MEP, ECR negotiator on the package, said: “At a reduced cost, this will still present welcome opportunities for young people who choose to study overseas elsewhere in the EU.

“It was important for us to gain the best possible support for grassroots sport and crucial that money should not be swallowed up by national and international sports bodies. We managed to achieve that.

“It was also important to limit the exposure of taxpayers to a scheme for underwriting and guaranteeing student loans for masters degrees. We managed to get that element’s share of the overall budget reduced from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, thus reducing the risk to taxpayers.”

During a debate in Strasbourg, the UK East Midlands MEP said: “In my own country, the Erasmus programme is often hailed as one of the few areas where an EU programme really works and adds value. And I am hopeful that this programme will continue to allow young people to take advantage of the opportunity to study overseas and to learn new skills and experience different cultures.

“However, I still remain deeply sceptical towards the not inconsiderable sums attributed to teaching elite students on European integration. I would have preferred to get rid of this scheme altogether and I find it very inappropriate to spend more money on this than on the entire Sport programme.

“On a more positive note, I am delighted that sport has for the first time, a dedicated budget and although I would have been happy to have given sport an even a larger part of the Erasmus budget, this is a positive first step. I particularly welcome the focus on grassroots sport, as these are the people and organisations that stand to benefit the most from inclusion in the programme.

“I can’t say that I find the text perfect. However, together with colleagues I will vote in favour of this final agreement as it represents an improvement on the initial proposal and provides opportunities for young people and vocational learning. I am hopeful that these opportunities will benefit not only the participants, but the wider economy.”

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