On 21 July, the European Heads of State and Government agreed on a common position with regard to the future EU budget. This is also an important milestone for the new Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027.

The European Council commits itself to an EU budget of EUR 1,074 billion over the next 7 years and agrees with the European Commission’s proposal for the new recovery instrument called “Next Generation EU” of EUR 750 billion to be integrated into the EU budget (of which, according to the Council position, EUR 390 billion in grants and EUR 360 billion in loans).

With this position of the Council, negotiations with the European Parliament can now begin. An agreement on the next EU budget must be reached among the EU institutions this year so that the EU programmes – including Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe – can start on time for January 2021.

Council budget proposal for Horizon Europe (2021-2027)

For Horizon Europe, the Council provides for a budget of EUR 75.9 billion over the next seven years. This is 5 billion (6%) less than in the EU Commission’s proposal of May 2020 (Link).

The budget proposal for Horizon Europe under the recovery fund is also significantly lower than the one proposed by the Commission in May: instead of 13.5 billion, the Council has earmarked 5 billion EUR for the research programme.

With a total of EUR 80,9 billion, the programme would be slightly more than in the last seven years (EUR 77 billion).

Council budget proposal for Erasmus+ (2021-2027)

For Erasmus+, the Council proposes a budget of EUR 21.2 billion over the next seven years. This is EUR 3.4 billion (14%) less than in the EU Commission’s proposal of May 2020 (Link), but significantly more than the programme had available in the last seven years (EUR 14.7 billion).

No direct funding is earmarked for Erasmus+ under the recovery fund.

The new Erasmus+ programme is currently still in negotiations between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission.

Reaction of the European Parliament

In its resolution on the European Council’s proposal for the EU budget 2021-2027 (MFF), the European Parliament regrets the cuts in forward-looking programmes both in the MFF and in the “Next Generation EU” reconstruction instrument – these programmes explicitly include Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. MEPs reiterate that an MFF below the Commission’s proposal is neither practicable nor acceptable and insist that targeted increases be made available for the programmes in addition to the figures proposed by the European Council.

In the view of the three science organisations DAAD, DFG and HRK, the funding provided for education and research, as proposed by the European Council, has fallen well short of expectations and future requirements. Therefore, they welcome the European Parliament’s call for improvements.

We need well-trained, multilingual young people with intercultural experience to ensure the future viability and innovative capability of Europe. It is therefore disappointing and unreasonable that the agreed budget for Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe falls short of the necessary and already estimated increases. The DAAD supports the European Parliament’s call for the planned budget for these two programmes to be increased.

DAAD President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee

European stakeholders, such as the European University Association (Link), also welcome the European Parliament’s resolution.