Rome, 24th February 2017. What do the Erasmus students expect from the European Union? Which will be the future of the integration accordind to them? The National Agency Erasmus+ Indire, Erasmus Student Network and garagErasmus try to answer these question, in collaboration with the Department for European Policies, the Ministry of Public Education and European Union. Today 24th February 2017 they organize the General Assembly of the Erasmus Generation. The event has taken place at the Capitol, as a celebration for the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus programme and the 60th of the Treaty of Rome.
It was the first Italian General Assembly of students and ex students who experienced the Erasmus programme at university. During the past 30 years, the Programme allowed more than 4 million students to study and train in European universities. In 2016 more than 30.000 Italian students left the country due to the Erasmus programme and every year Italy hosts more then 20.000 European students. In the years the Programme has proven its validity and advantages in terms of education, personal growth and development of the European citizenship. About 200 students take part in the General Assembly, representing the Italian academic world to discuss about six topics: Erasmus between globalization and anti-globalization, local communities and digital world, United Europe, European citizenship, Erasmus for all and mobility between study and work.
The Minister of the Education, University and Research Valeria Fedeli declares: "The Erasmus Program has represented a real cutural and political revolution which, for the past three decades, has brought into life a widespread European citizenship. It has opened boundaries that political treaties failed to throw down. It has given freedom of physical and cultural movement and has staked on the new generations that had the opportunity to train outside their countries, in an environment of cultural contamination and integration. In the past years, the budget has increased and it still does in order to let people participate in the program. We don't want this program to be a mirage for young students with a low income, as in the past. We have to work to create a situation of equality of opportunity in access to culture. It's a commitment we honour as government, a commitment we ask Europe to support.
The Undersecretary at European Politics Sandro Gozi states: "30 years after its birth, the Erasmus Program remains the most important success of Europe. A multiplier of opportunities for the thousands of young students involved every year. Erasmus means more culture, more languages, more education, more visions. But we have to do more. Our commitment aims to increase the budget for 2020-2026 from 2 to 20 billions. We want the number of students involved to increase. Nowadays Italy sends 30.000 students abroad every year but the aim is to get to 300.000 young students. The Erasmus is also the best antidote to racism, xenophobia, walls and prejudices. That's why we want it to be a program for everyone, not just for those who can afford it. We need to involve in the European reality also those countries where there is an athmosphere of euroscepticism or eurodisappointment. We need to start from the Erasmus generation in order to revive the European project in the year when we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome".
The President of ESN Erasmus Student Network declares: "The General Assembly of the Erasmus Generation means an important step for this new generation. For the very first time, we will be able to convene and discuss about six crucial topics, especially in this particular historical moment when we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Community and the 30th of its biggest success. ESN Italy wishes all the participants and the chairmans a profitable work".
The responsible for GaragErasmus Francesco Cappè adds: "Erasmus represents the founding of Europe. And, after 30 years, the numbers can still increase. Erasmus deserves to be extended to reach the highest number of people involved. GaragErasmus is born and developed creating the first community for ex-Erasmus students in order to reward mobility and the Europe of people. The General Assembly is an experiment that goes in this direction and we inted to develop all over Europe".
The director of the National Agency Erasmus+ INDIRE Flaminio Galli states: "The Erasmus is the bright side of Europe, a program that witnesses in the best way possible the benefits and advantages of European integration. We want to start again from the Erasmus generation, from young people who grew up with no walls and with curiosity and friendship towards the others. They are students, workers and professionals who can strongly contribute to inspire new hope in the European project".
The General Assembly of the Erasmus Generation was the first occasion to listen, debate and collect opions from students and ex-Erasmus students. The debate will continue in the next weeks with all the Erasmus who want to intervene thanks to the online platform provided by GaragErasmus. They will elaborate various policy suggestions, a political-cultural document addressed to the Italian and European istitutions. The final paper will be handed over to political decision-makers during the ceremony for the 60th anniverdary of the Treaty of Rome.