Hard time is prospected for youth organisations after 2013. This is the feeling AEGEE-Europe had when receiving the proposal “Erasmus for All”, the new programme for youth, education, mobility, sport and culture.

The new programme, as presented by the European Commission on 23rd of November, represents on the overall budget of the EU a significant increase, bringing the perspective to grant more activities and more students on their academic path, and presents a big simplification unifying several existing funding programmes.

However, despite these positive factors, the programme is still unsatisfactory. The rationale behind this proposal is to have concrete results, reach more people and be cost-efficient, with a major focus on employment. Moreover, among others, provision for operating grants for NGOs is missing.

Following this rationale, it’s highly likely that the future projects focusing on Active Citizenship won’t be founded because the cost-efficient policy requires values in the end that are impossible to estimate (considering the objective difficulty in measuring the human feeling of citizenship).

Moreover, the missing provision for operating grants does not comply with the cost-efficiency of the proposal: the role of NGOs is to gather citizens and bring them closer to the values of Europe, and this was the reason why the European Commission was funding several organisations. A change of policy in this field, combined with the focus on employability worries, as it seems from these small steps that there is no interest in an active European citizenship anymore (despite all the efforts done so far from the European Union to increase it).

For all these reasons, AEGEE-Europe prepared a reaction expressing concerns and suggestions about the new programme, which represents one of the steps in the advocacy campaign of AEGEE-Europe towards an independent “Youth in Action” programme that would provide support for youth organisations and enhance active citizenship and non-formal education as main values of Europe.

The reaction is available here.

By Alfredo Sellitti, former President of AEGEE-Europe