Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Dr Aaron Farrugia and Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Sports and Voluntary Organisation Dr Clifton Grima presented €7 million in EU funds to 79 beneficiaries at the European Union Programmes Agency annual Grant Award Ceremony for the 2018 Erasmus+ Programme beneficiaries.
During the ceremony, Hon. Dr Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue announced that over €7 million in Erasmus+ grants will be distributed to 79 beneficiaries, to start off new projects under the five decentralised sectors; School, VET, Adult Education, Higher Education and the Youth sector. €3.7 million in funding will be utilised for mobility of individuals, whereas €3.2 million in grants will go towards projects under strategic partnerships which predominantly focus on the sharing of good practices and innovation. Furthermore €65,000 will go towards Policy Reform.
Hon. Farrugia remarked that in October 2018 there will be the final call for the Youth Sector, including youth exchanges and the first call for the European Solidarity Corps, whereby young people can apply to conduct a voluntary experience abroad. Youth organisations and NGOs were encouraged by the Parliamentary Secretary to contact MEUSAC in order to avail from the support provided in submitting their ideas and proposals.
Hon. Dr Clifton Grima, Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Sports and Voluntary Organisation stated that today’s event marks an important start to all the entities starting off new projects under the Erasmus+ Programme. In 2018 under the Youth sector, to date 51 projects have been granted funds. Hon. Grima encouraged organisations that have volunteering projects to keep on expanding and to keep on providing opportunities to young people to participate in projects’ under the new initiative launched by the European Commission, the European Solidarity Corps.
Mr. Joseph Schembri, CEO for the European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) and National Coordinator Erasmus+ Programme (Malta), said that year after year, the budget allocated to our country for Erasmus+ has kept on increasing, with this year, 2018, seeing the highest ever budget EUPA has ever seen.
Mr. Schembri stated that the European Commission shall be doubling the Erasmus+ budget after the year 2020. This bodes well for the Maltese and Gozitan citizens, as there will be more opportunities available for them to undergo a learning or voluntary experience abroad.
Mr. Schembri also added that this year, EUPA received 186 applications; 102 of them coming from the Higher Education, Schools, VET and Adult sectors, with another 84 coming from the Youth sector – reaching new records for projects submitted by schools and Vocational Education Training institutions. The selection process for projects is always becoming more competitive since the level of quality is always increasing. In fact, the funds allocated up to now for this year have been spent entirely.