The Brief, powered by Eni: Make Erasmus more inclusive

The Brief is EURACTIV's evening newsletter.

The European Union is celebrating today 30 years of its ‘Erasmus’ programme. Approximately 9 million young people have already travelled to another EU country and some 1 million ‘Erasmus babies’ have been born.

But has the project delivered its political goal to create a European identity?

Erasmus is basically linked to studying, partying and carefree moments. However, few of these young people realise what they are de facto getting: the construction of an EU identity which will contribute in the long run to the ongoing European integration.

Despite the successes, a number of questions are still outstanding. How is Erasmus reflected in national elections, considering that young people increasingly turn to extreme or populist political choices? Then another question arises: is the programme really accessible to all young people across Europe?

No. There are still students in Europe who, mainly due to the economic crisis, cannot afford an Erasmus programme despite the EU funds it provides. There are also students who work during their studies to make ends meet and, often, even support their jobless parents.

This is absolutely not intended to question the most successful EU programme. It’s also realistic to say that the hope for a better EU future is put on the Erasmus generation.

However, making Erasmus more inclusive will make Europe better.

This Brief is powered by Eni. In 1960, three years after the treaty of Rome, two pioneers opened a small representative office in Brussels. Back then, the 7-years old Eni was an early believer in Europe. Today, driven by the same passion, we are proud to support the EU in pursuing the common vision of a future where everyone can access affordable, sustainable and clean energy – in a strong Europe.

The Roundup

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said the governing coalition with the right-wing True Finns party will not continue. The party elected Jussi Halla-aho, a hardliner who wants to leave the EU, as its new leader over the weekend. EU Commission Vice-President and former Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen tweeted that the government collapsed over “fundamental values”.

Silver fox EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is getting impatient with the UK after last week’s inconclusive parliamentary election. “I can’t negotiate with myself,” he said in an interview with eight media outlets.

British former prime minister John Major, who helped start the peace process in Northern Ireland, has made a rare – and blunt – public intervention, warning Theresa May that linking up with the DUP threatens a return of the “hard men” to violence in the province.

May is in Paris today visiting a leader who did a lot better in his own election. She and Emmanuel Macron are reportedly planning to agree on tough new joint rules to crack down on social media companies that don’t remove “inflammatory content”. The penalties will include a fine, the Guardian reported.

Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble said the UK “would find open doors” if it decides to stay in the EU after all.

Look out for…

Theresa May in the first prime minister’s questions tomorrow evening since losing her election gamble last week.

Views are the author’s.

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