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.
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Look out for…
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Views are the author’s.