Erasmus+ goes green

Supporting the European Green Deal is a key priority in the latest incarnation of the European Union’s flagship educational mobility and cooperation programme Erasmus+.

The 2021-27 edition of the programme, for which the first calls for proposals are now being launched, aims to be a key instrument for building knowledge, skills and attitudes on climate change and sustainable development in the European Union and beyond.

This aligns with the objectives of the European Green Deal, an ambitious programme aiming to make the European Union carbon neutral by 2050, while mobilising €150 billion through the Just Transition Mechanism to ensure that the shift to green leaves no one behind.  Under the Recovery Plan for Europe, the EU’s stimulus package to repair the economic and social damage caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, 30% of funds will be devoted to environment and climate action, and supporting the green transition is an important strand in the European Union’s external assistance to the enlargement and neighbourhood countries.

The green strand in Erasmus+ reflects the importance of education and skills in facilitating and enabling the green transition. At the same time, the programme itself will strive for carbon-neutrality by promoting sustainable means of transport and environmentally responsible behaviours.

Greening is a horizontal priority for the selection of projects. Priority will be given to those aimed at developing competences in fields that are strategic for the green transition, and focusing on the contribution of education and culture to sustainable development.

Priority will also be given to projects that foster behavioural change in individual preferences, cultural values and awareness for sustainable consumption habits and lifestyles.

Organisations and participants are encouraged to incorporate green practices in all projects through an environmental-friendly approach when designing the activity, which will encourage them to discuss and learn about environmental issues, reflect on local actions and to come up with alternative greener ways of implementing their activities.

Erasmus+ has a budget of €26.2 billion for 2021-2027, nearly double the €14.7 billion available in 2014-2020. This is complemented by some €2.2 billion from EU's external instruments.

“The fact that the Erasmus+ budget for the next seven years has almost doubled shows the importance given to education, lifelong learning and youth in Europe” said Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “Erasmus+ remains a unique programme in terms of its size, scope and global recognition, covering 33 countries, and accessible to the rest of the world through its international activities.”

In addition to the Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area, countries participating fully in Erasmus+ include Turkey, Serbia and North Macedonia. The other countries of the Western Balkans, and those of the Eastern Partnership, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia and the Russian Federation are all partners in the programme and can take part in certain actions under specific conditions. The Erasmus Mundus action, which funds international joint masters degrees, is open to students worldwide. For full details, consult the Erasmus+ Programme Guide.

Erasmus+ is managed on behalf of the European Commission by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency and a network of National Agencies in the participating countries and National Offices in the partner countries.

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