How are Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps faring? Read the European Parliament study's findings

Both programmes are implemented well, but the administrative burden, digitisation and IT tools need to be improved.


In early September, the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) published studies on the implementation of the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes to date. The studies present not only conclusions on the state of implementation, successes and challenges faced by the programmes, but also recommendations on how to fulfil the full potential and objectives of these two major European programmes in the field of formal and non-formal education.

Erasmus+: a successful programme with room for improvement in inclusion and digitalisation  

Overall, the survey participants are satisfied with the initial phase of the programme implementation and consider the communication activities of the Commission and the National Agencies to be effective. According to the respondents, the communications on the calls as well as their objectives and aims were clear and understandable. The main findings of the study are:

  • The budget for the period 2021-2022 was almost 100% spent, despite the delayed start of the programme and the need to adapt to the post-COVID-19 pandemic environment and the context of the war in Ukraine.
  • 70% of approved projects are on track to achieve their objectives. This means that a significant number of successful applicants need to make greater efforts to complete their projects.
  • Grant application processes have improved compared to the previous programme, but a large number of National Agencies and other stakeholders still believe that the grant awards take too long.
  • Progress has been made in the area of inclusion and diversity, but according to respondents, there are still a number of financial and administrative barriers for individuals and organisations, ranging from delays in payments to overly complex language in the documentation.
  • Positive aspects that contribute to the effectiveness of Erasmus+ are the transparency of the calls and their objectives as well as the communication from the Commission and the National Agencies. The biggest negatives include user-unfriendly project proposal forms and IT systems.
  • The main benefits of participation in Erasmus+ are increased mobility in non-formal and informal learning, promoting young people's participation in democratic processes and civic engagement, and promoting inclusion and diversity.
  • Respondents, including National Agencies, were dissatisfied with the European Commission's IT system in terms of grant application, reporting and implementation tools.

The study thus recommends, among other things, strengthening the coordination of National Agencies with the European Commission to ensure a better common understanding of the Erasmus+ rules, continuing to simplify the programme, including the complexity of the language, resolving problems with the European Commission's IT tools, continuing to promote inclusion, or better respecting and planning the deadlines for publication of results and disbursement of grants.

European Solidarity Corps: the programme meets its objectives even with a limited budget

European Solidarity Corps is a relatively new programme that has been implemented in three phases: a pilot phase was launched in 2016 and a third phase is currently underway (from 2021 to 2027). The study concludes that the programme is meeting its objectives, however, there is a need to further raise awareness of the programme at both national and European level and to increase the budget, as the current one does not allow for the involvement of new organisations and individuals in the programme. The IT tools are also problematic as respondents face frequent system errors. The main findings of the study are the following:

  • Although the implementation of the programme did not start until the end of 2021 due to the delayed adoption of the legal basis of the programme in May 2021, respondents perceive the launch of the programme as effective.

  • Respondents believe that administrative requirements have increased since the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) was separated from Erasmus+. This has increased the administrative burden for staff of both National Agencies and organisations involved in ESC projects.

  • While the increase in lump sums is seen as a positive development, budgetary constraints remain, especially in view of the increase in the cost of living and high inflation across the EU.

  • It was highlighted by the respondents that inclusion measures are not systematically included in all projects and therefore need to be rethought. They also suggested that good practice on inclusion measures in individual projects should be better promoted at the European and national levels.

  • The incorporation of the priority related to the Green Deal for Europe in the objectives and priorities of the ESC programme and its projects is perceived very positively.

For these reasons, the study recommends, among other things, increasing the visibility and branding of the programme, ensuring a sufficient budget, reducing the administrative burden (to better adapt the programme to the target groups), continuing to strengthen inclusive measures (including extending the current age limit of 18-30 years) and enhancing IT tools and the functioning of the online platform. 

Both studies can be read in full on the European Parliament website.