The European Office today sent a policy letter, drafted in cooperation with its´ members, to the rapporteurs on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The reason for this are the current MFF negotiations. With the Mitchel proposal of February 2020 and the Commission proposal published this May infused the negotations with new impetus. In our letter we welcome the renewed Commission’s proposal und the plans for new public investments. At the sem time we emphasise the need not only to invest in infrastructure but in people too. Especially the youth and education programs, Erasmus + and the European Solidarity Corps, should not suffer because of new priorities.  Youth and education are key areas to overcome the current health and environmental challenges. You can read our letter below:

To the members of the budget committee of the European Parliament

Dear MEPs,

Europe is currently facing two important challenges: The impact of COVID-19 and the increasing progression of climate change. To address these challenges the European Commission presented on the 27th of May a new proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. In the proposal the Commission suggests large investments in infrastructure supporting the green and digital transition. The renovation of buildings the construction of charging points for electric cars and the roll-out of 5G networks feature prominently among the spending proposals. In this context, the proposal to spend more on health systems, medications and medical equipment has to be mentioned as well.

We, as the Assocation for Catholic-Social Educational Centres in Germany (AKSB e.V.), the Youth Ministry of the German Bishops Conference (afj), the Association of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ), Catholic Adult Education Germany (KEB) and the European Federation for Catholic Adult Education (FEECA), represent several hundred thousand progressive Catholics who are invested in the well-being of our societies. We therefore welcome the Commission’s proposals as a much needed initiative for more public investment.

While investments in infrastructure are good and well we regard them as insufficient to address Europe´s pressing challenges. As providers of non-formal youth and adult education we regard investments in people as just as important. From our point of view electric cars and face masks are just one element of the solution. People also need to acquire a deeper understanding of climate change and health threats to generate long-term behavioural challenges.

Non-formal youth work and education provide a unique setting to achieve widespread improvements in environmental and health knowledge since we reach people from all social and educational backgrounds, all age groups and all geographical areas.

It is important to take into account that next to environmental and health challenges older challenges to education remain. The rise of nationalism and distrust in political institutions require improved civic education for all sectors of the population.

Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps have a strong track record in creating open-mindedness across borders and possess a huge potential for environmental and health education.

Therefore, we welcome the intention of the European Commission to more or less maintain the ambition regarding Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps shown in the MFF proposal from 2018. The proposal to increase Erasmus+ from 13,7 to 24,6 billion EUR and awardthe European Solidarity Corps a budget of 895 million EUR[1]is slightly below the 2018 budget proposals.

In the new Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027 multiple new features are planned, for example the European Universities initiative, DiscoverEU and mobilities for adult learning to name just a few. To fulfill these ambitions as well as improve funding rates in areas where demand greatly surpassed supply in the current funding period, Erasmus+ needs sufficient financing.

Therefore, we encourage the European Parliament to continue pursuing its proposal to triple Erasmus+. The proposal of the European Council from February 2020 should be rejected since it would be insufficient to match the ambitions for Erasmus+ 2021-2027.

Erasmus+ is more and more becoming an important backbone of youth work and education in Europe, a sector that is key for social cohesion, democratic stability and prosperity. Climate change and pandemic health threats are just two new tasks the sector needs to live up to.

Let us continue working towards stronger Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes to help European youth work and education live up to its full potential.


In the name of our organisations,

Florian Sanden

European Office for Catholic Youth and Adult Education
19 Square de Meeûs, B-1050 Brüssel

Tel. 0032 2274 1425

[1] Both amounts are in 2018 prices


The letter to the budget committee can be downloaded here.