Erasmus+ is the new, integrated European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport aimed at improving employability, upgrading qualifications, modernising training and education, and improving job opportunities for young people. The European Union is stepping up its spending levels in these areas and increased the budget compared to the past financial period by 40% to reach € 14.7 billion for the period 2014-2020. Additionally, approximately € 1.68 million has been made available for cooperation with partner countries. In 2014, Austria received funding in the amount of approximately € 25.8 million under the ERASMUS + programme.
ERASMUS+ combines all previous EU programmes in the fields of general and vocational training and youth. The programme covers life-long learning, school and university education, vocational training and adult education, and the targeted promotion of youth and sports. Along with acquiring pertinent technical know-how and language skills, intercultural skills and transcultural team work are to be encouraged as well. The focus is mainly on mobility and cross-border cooperation to close the gap between education and the demands of the labour market.
The major part (77.5%) of the total ERASMUS+ budget is earmarked for education (€ 11.45 billion). Concrete tools in this area include subsidies for increased mobility, strategic partnerships and thematic initiatives in the school, university and vocational training sectors. € 1.4 billion are dedicated to youth – this area breaks down to three major fields covering numerous activities: European Volunteer Service, youth exchange, mobility for experts in youth work, transnational youth initiatives, capacity building, and structured dialogue with stakeholders of youth policy. The focus in sports (€ 265 million funding) is on sports and society, economic dimensions, and integrity of sport.
All EU member states, FYROM (Macedonia), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Participation of the following states is subject to specific conditions and action: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Russia.