European youth study and sport package agreed

19-Nov-2013 @ 13:0

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The European Parliament today approved a comprehensivepackage of funding measures in the field of education, training, and sportwhich will cover youth study and training programmes through until 2020.

The so-called Erasmus for All programme was supported byConservative MEPs after their pressure led to a significant improvement insupport for grassroots sport.

Negotiation also brought down the overall cost totaxpayers by more than €4 billion to €13 billion

Emma McClarkin MEP, Conservative negotiator on thepackage, said: "At a reduced cost, this will still present welcomeopportunities for young people who choose to study overseas elsewhere in theEU.

"It was important for us to gain the bestpossible support for grassroots sport and crucial that money should not beswallowed up by national and international sports bodies. We managed to achievethat.

"It was also important to limit the exposure oftaxpayers to a scheme for underwriting and guaranteeing student loans formasters degrees. We managed to get that element's share of the overall budgetreduced from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, thus reducing the risk totaxpayers."

During a debate in Strasbourg, the East Midlands MEPsaid: "In my own country, the Erasmus programme is often hailed as one ofthe few areas where an EU programme really works and adds value. And I amhopeful that this programme will continue to allow young people to takeadvantage of the opportunity to study overseas and to learn new skills andexperience different cultures.

"However, I still remain deeply sceptical towardsthe not inconsiderable sums attributed to teaching elite students on Europeanintegration. I would have preferred to get rid of this scheme altogether and Ifind it very inappropriate to spend more money on this than on the entire Sportprogramme.

"On a more positive note, I am delighted that sporthas for the first time, a dedicated budget and although I would have been happyto have given sport an even a larger part of the Erasmus budget, this is apositive first step. I particularly welcome the focus on grassroots sport, asthese are the people and organisations that stand to benefit the most frominclusion in the programme.

"I can't say that I find the text perfect. However,together with colleagues I will vote in favour of this final agreement as itrepresents an improvement on the initial proposal and provides opportunitiesfor young people and vocational learning. I am hopeful that these opportunitieswill benefit not only the participants, but the wider economy.

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