We have written an open letter to Themis Christophidou (Director-General of the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture), calling on the European Commission to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on Erasmus+ projects.
CESAER - the strong and united voice of universities of science and technology in Europe - commends the special measures that the European Commission has taken to address the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on the Erasmus+ programme. We particularly welcome the prompt and unambiguous invocation of the force majeure clauses, thus mitigating against the negative effects of this unprecedented crisis on the participants of the programme. While a good start has been made, continued efforts and support will be needed to address some remaining issues and uncertainties.
In order to ensure the speedy and smooth relaunch of the activities of Erasmus+ in the post-pandemic era, we call on the European Commission to:
- Continue the dialogue with national agencies, universities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the remaining educational, financial and organisational challenges that the implementers of current and future Erasmus+ projects face are identified and tackled;
- Ensure that the guidance and instructions provided to national agencies and beneficiaries are explicit, clearly and effectively communicated and consistently implemented, leaving no room for different interpretations and varying practices throughout participating countries;
- Apply maximum flexibility and ensure that the beneficiaries do not suffer any cuts in funding or financial losses related to unimplemented project activities, extensions of projects and extra staff costs. Provide additional funding through a lump sum to cover extra staff costs and other costs (i.e. website support or software licences) that may occur due to the project extensions under Key Action 2;
- Continue support through specific calls under a dedicated recovery action to help universities adapt to the post-Covid-19 outbreak changes in learning and teaching, and to implement blended and online mobility formats from the start of the next academic year;
- Continue to update the FAQ sections (including date of publication for newly added information) on Covid-19 implications for Erasmus+ projects and factsheets with essential practical advice as they are much appreciated and useful.
We offer our continued and constructive partnership to ensure the longer-term consequences of the spread of Covid-19 in the calls and implementation of projects under the Erasmus+ programme can be dealt with and addressed adequately and in an orderly and timely fashion.
Please find the PDF version of the letter for distribution here.
For more information and enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact our Advisor for Higher Education Indrė Antanavičiūtė.