Initiative collects over 65,000 signatures for more “Erasmus”

Press release

Brussels (03/06/2013) – The Erasmus Student Network, AEGEE-Europe, and Campus Europae have today ushered in the last phase in their campaign for more EU exchange programmes like Erasmus or the European Voluntary Service (EVS) in the future. In supporting the initiative Fraternité 2020, which aims to raise the share of the EU budget used for EU exchange programmes to 3%, they call on everybody in Europe not to miss this historic opportunity.

Fraternité 2020 has already achieved many notable successes:

  • It is the first-ever registered European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) in European history (see ‘note to the editors’ below);
  • it was the first ECI to start collecting signatures on Commission servers on October 31, 2012;
  • it has already collected over 65,000 signatures for more “Erasmus” since then, most of which in Germany (14,300), Spain (8,600), Belgium (7,800), Italy (5,800), and France (4,800);
  • it is already supported by over 70 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all major political parties, taking its tally of institutional support to almost 10% of the entire EP;
  • it boasts a network of supporting NGOs all over Europe, brought together by the genuine wish to increase chances, especially for young people, to cross borders, learn new languages, and get to know people from other countries;
  • this summer it will get its own “Citizens of 2020” Tour, with young people from all over Europe cycling 3,000 km from Vienna to Ankara in a bid to raise awareness for the initiative, as part of the Ride for your Rights 2013 edition (see ‘note to editors’ below).

Despite of so much idealism and hard work on part of all those behind Fraternité 2020, it might just go into Europe’s history as the first-ever failed ECI, i.e. the first ECI that did not manage to find 1 million supporters for their cause at the end of the stipulated 12-month period. To avert this scenario more than 900,000 signatures will need to be collected until November.

Is it really possible that – in all 27 EU member states – there are not 1 million people that support more “Erasmus” in the future? This year alone there are over 200,000 Erasmus students expanding their horizons and crossing boarders across Europe. Since 1987 (the year the Erasmus programme was created) more than 3 million students have lived through this experience – and the great majority of them has thoroughly enjoyed it, both intellectually and personally.

The Erasmus Student Network, AEGEE-Europe, and the European University Foundation-Campus Europae are therefore calling on everyone in Europe to send a signal for more EU exchange programmes in the future by supporting Fraternité 2020 at http://support.F2020.eu. It takes every individual person one minute to do so, but could have an impact on Europe for decades. Especially, they call on all past and present participants of the EU’s exchange programmes to help those coming after them to make the same experience.

Note to the editors:

About EU exchange programmes: The current budget for the ‘Lifelong Learning Programme’ + ‘Youth in Action’ and the other international education programmes comes to around 1.2% of the budget.

The new Erasmus for All (E4A) programme brings together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes - Lifelong Learning Programme (includes Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the bilateral cooperation programme with industrialised countries. The Commission planned to dedicate €19 billion for seven years to E4A, which would have represented 1.6% of the proposed budget for 2014-2020 (€1.025 trillion). The European Council summit in February decided to cut this proposal by around 20%.

About the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI): The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the EU. The initiative enables one million EU citizens to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area within the competences of the EU. The first ever such ECI is Fraternité 2020, which was registered on Europe day (May 9), 2012. The decision was announced one day in advance by Vice-President of the Commission Maroš Šefčovič via his Twitter account. After teething problems with the necessary system to collect signatures online, Fraternité 2020 has started gathering signatures on October 31, 2012 and has until October 31, 2013 to collect 1 million signatures.

About Ride for your Rights 2013: “The Citizens of 2020” Tour was initiated shortly after the launch of Fraternité 2020 as an attempt to boost the bid for the one million signatures until October 2013. Ride for your Rights! tours are an effective medium to draw attention to a certain topic due to the broad media coverage generally received during a tour. “The Citizens of 2020” Tour symbolically alludes to the dangers of segregation by riding along stretches of the former Iron Curtain while actively lobbying for European youth and student mobility along the way from Vienna to Ankara. The call for participation is directed at anyone who feels at home in an intercultural environment and on a bicycle. The tour is designed for non-experienced cyclists and professionals alike.

For additional information, please contact:

For the Erasmus Student Network

Mr. Emanuel Alfranseder (in English, German and Swedish)

Tel.: 0032 (0) 477 567 889.

For AEGEE-Europe

Ms Kathrin Renner (in German, English and Spanish)

Phone: 0032 487 410 455.

For the European University Foundation - Campus Europae

Prof. Christoph Ehmann (in German and English)

Tel.: 00352 261 510.

For Fraternité 2020

Mr. Luca Copetti (in English, French, Dutch, and Italian)
Tel.: 0032 (0) 496 548 021.

For Ride for your Rights 2013

Mr. Julian Walkowiak (in English and German)
Tel.: 0043 (0) 650 891 4673