ERASMUS+: AN INVESTMENT OF 28 BILLION EUROS TO SUPPORT MOBILITY IN THE EU
On March 25, the Commission adopted the first annual Erasmus+ work programme for the period 2021-2027. With an investment of 26.2 bn, supplemented by 2.2 bn derived from external EU instruments, the new programme will finance mobility programmes for learning and of cross-border cooperation for 10 million EU citizens of all ages and walks of life.
The programme aims to be even more inclusive and to support green and digital transition, as well as the resilience of education and training systems facing the pandemic. Therefore, it will offer opportunities related to study periods abroad, traineeships, apprenticeships and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training, youth and sport. The main characteristics are: Erasmus+ Inclusive, a more international programme based on the cooperation with third countries; Erasmus+ Digital, fostering digital education and traineeships; Erasmus+ Green, in line with the goals of the European Green Deal; Erasmus+ for Young, supporting exchange and cooperation opportunities through activities of youth participation.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth has declared: “The fact that the budget for Erasmus+ for the next 7 years has been doubled proves the importance attributed to education, learning throughout life and for young people in Europe. Erasmus+ is a unique programme for its scope, extent and overall recognition, involves 33 countries and is accessible to the rest of the world through its international activities. I invite all public and private organisations present in the fields of education, training, youth and sport to examine the invitations to submit proposals newly published and to present applications for funding. Thanks to Erasmus+, we will build the European educational area.”
EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL: THE COMMISSION PRESENTS ACTIONS TO BOOST ORGANIC PRODUCTION
On March 25, the European Commission presented an Action Plan for the development of organic production. It is aimed to boost the production and consumption of organic products, to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030, as well as to significantly increase organic aquaculture.
The Action Plan, in line with the European Green Deal, Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies, puts forward 23 actions structured around 3 areas: boosting consumption, increasing production, and further improving the sustainability of the sector. Growing consumption of organic products will be crucial to encourage farmers to convert to organic farming, thus increasing their profitability and resilience. In this regard, the Action Plan implements several concrete actions aimed at boosting demand, maintaining consumer trust and bringing organic food closer to citizens.
Finally, it also aims to enhance organic farming's performance in terms of sustainability, by improving animal welfare, ensuring the availability of organic seeds, reducing the sector's carbon footprint, and minimising the use of plastics, water and energy.
EUROPEAN INNOVATION COUNCIL: THE SUPPORT OF THE EC TO THE SCIENTIFIC INNOVATION PATHWAY
On March 18, the European Commission launched the European Innovation Council (EIC) allocating over €10 billion for 2021-2027. The EIC focuses on the research on emerging technologies with an accelerator program and a dedicated equity fund (the European Innovation Council Fund) to promote start-ups and SMEs’ initiatives.
Both Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for ‘A Europe Fit for the Digital Age', and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, emphasized the need to translate research results into business and build a future European Innovation Area through investments in visionary and innovative companies.
Key elements of the European Innovation Council are represented by: the EIC Accelerator, which will support SMEs and start-ups in the development of scale-up innovation projects and will provide a new application system for the submission of funding applications; a team of EIC Programme Managers, which will deal with the development of visions for technological and innovation breakthroughs; a new EIC Transition funding scheme, which will convert research results into innovations. Furthermore, the European Innovation Council will provide several prizes to celebrate those who contribute to the success of the EU in the innovation area, such as the EU Prize for Women Innovator, the European Capital of Innovation Awards, the European Social Innovation Competition and the European Innovation Procurement Awards.