Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia presented over €9 million in EU funds to 75 beneficiaries at the European Union programmes Agency Annual Grant Award Ceremony for the 2019 Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Programme beneficiaries, held on Thursday 1st August 2019 at the Fortress Builders, Valletta.
Under the Erasmus+ Programme, €5.1 million in funding will be utilised for mobility of individuals, whereas €3.9 million in grants will go towards projects under strategic partnerships which predominantly focus on the sharing of good practices and innovation and €74,000 will go towards Policy reform. Under the European Solidarity Corps, over €100,00 in funding will be distributed to two beneficiaries; the projects will allow for young people to embark on volunteering projects.
Hon. Farrugia remarked that over 5500 Maltese individuals would benefit from the Erasmus+ Programme and European Solidarity Corps through the 2019 projects, half of these will participate in a mobility, and thus experience a learning experience in another country. Furthermore, he also stated that in October 2019 there will be the final call for the Youth Sector, under the Erasmus+ Programme and the European Solidarity Corps, whereby young people can apply to participate in a youth exchange or conduct a voluntary experience abroad.
Mr. Joseph Schembri, CEO for the European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) and National Coordinator Erasmus+ Programme and European Solidarity Corps (Malta), said that year after year, the budget allocated to our country has kept on increasing, with this year, 2019, 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 149 applications under the Erasmus+ Programme, out of which 73 projects have been funded. The selection process for projects is always becoming more competitive since the level of quality is always increasing. Under the European Solidarity Corps 2 applications were received and these were granted funds.
During the ceremony, The European Language Label Award 2019 was also awarded to two schools; Verdala International School and Maria Regina College, St. Paul’s Bay Primary. The label is awarded to the most innovative language-learning project in each country participating in the scheme. By supporting these projects, at a local and national level, the label seeks to raise the standards of language teaching cross Europe.
The certificates were presented by Hon. Dr Aaron Farrugia, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds and Social Dialogue and Mr. Joseph Schembri Chief Executive Officer (EUPA), National Coordinator Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Programmes (Malta).