Since a while, a mobilization is taking place to defend the mythic and famous student mobility program threaten due to important cuts made by the Member-States and the European Commission in the draft budget 2013.
Alain Lamassourre, EPP MEP and chairman of the Budget Committee in the EP, concerned about the evolution and the effects of such a policy, rose the alert. Since then, much are the associations and other members of the civil society who are mobilized within the EU and the Member-States for ERASMUS, as the collective #Save ERASMUS on the web.
For those who do not know yet, ERASMUS is a European programme aiming at promoting and facilitating the student mobility in Europe. Designed in 1987, ERASMUS quickly became a success and was overwhelmingly adopted by students who could enjoy an exchange and an experience work (as an internship) in another EU Member-State.
More than a simple European programme, ERASMUS, throughout the years, imposed itself as one of the clearest and most important symbols of the European Union, to such an extent it contributes to the construction of this famous European identity. There are a lot of examples as the famous film of the French director, Cédric Klapisch, “L’Auberge espagnole” released in June 2002 and become a real phenomenon of society.
The threat existing on the ERASMUS programme is a bad signal sent to all the Europeans and those coming from the current generation especially. At the moment the Union is experiencing a stronger and stronger citizens’ distrust and the Member-States have more and more difficulties to speak in one voice vis-à-vis the crisis, the European integration should give some guarantees to be credible and ensure its viability, that supposes popular initiatives and (by definition) accessible for everyone.
ERASMUS is part of these programmes there is no doubt on the popularity. Since its creation, more 2.5 million of Europeans could enjoy such a program (via the attribution of a scholarship) and the tendency is still increasing. More than a simple student stay in another Member-State, ERASMUS is a genuine gateway to discover and understand Europe and the Europeans, which supposes experiencing and sharing common things. Behind this programme, there is a spirit, an idea that is to build a citizenship and a feeling of being part to an identity which is complementary or goes past the national ones. This is the idea, beyond the studying of Political science, History, Physics or Economics in English, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish or German, it’s a vivre-ensemble and a European melting-pot which is put forward. It’s a place where no one speaks the same language but everyone understands you!
Is the crisis going to get the better of ERASMUS? All is going to depend on the capacity of (young) European citizens to be mobilized to express their attachment to a programme which proved its effectiveness in the building of a real European space. Thus, it would be hazardous for Member-States to question a really mobilizing and popular programme, even if they are constrained to some imperatives due to the crisis.
PS: Here, the preview of “L’Auberge espagnole”, just below.