Neth-ER expresses its gratitude for the past and current European education programmes: Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and Erasmus+ (2021-2027). In relation to the review of the past and current programmes, four key issues demand attention for the future Erasmus programme: education quality, clarity and transparency, simplification and reciprocal and equal international cooperation.  

Neth-ER position paper on Erasmus+: Education quality at heart

Embrace progress; keep it simple!

Neth-ER, an association based in Brussels that represents eleven Dutch organisations involved in the field of education, research, and innovation, presents its input for the ongoing review of the current and past Erasmus+ programmes. In the position paper, Erasmus+: Education quality at heart, Neth-ER sheds the Dutch light on the future of Erasmus+. Our subtitle ’Embrace progress; keep it simple!’ refers to the progress Erasmus+ programme has already made. However, keeping the programme simple to execute has become a challenge. In addition, Neth-ER brings forth four key points that should be considered when designing a forthcoming Erasmus+ programme.

Education quality as the goal, Erasmus+ as a means

Neth-ER emphasizes the core objective of Erasmus+: enhancing education quality. Thus, in order to enhance European education quality to a genuine new level, Neth-ER calls for learning mobility for students and staff to be widely accessible to all sectors, with automatic recognition of achievements. Cross-border cooperation projects and high-quality policies strengthen education systems and EU instruments. The flagship initiatives, European Universities and Centers of Vocational Excellence, are crucial for improving education quality. Neth-ER urges sustainable continuation and expanded cooperation projects without compromising the mobility budget. Broadening and deepening these initiatives is key when promoting the quality of education, alongside active student and staff involvement. Seeing which challenges education faces amidst societal changes and transitions, while also raising education quality, Neth-ER argues to significantly increase the budget of Erasmus+, with at least a doubling of the current budget of 26 billion euros.

Clarity & transparency on strategic goals

In light of a rapidly changing world, Neth-ER strongly emphasizes the necessity of modernizing European education systems to effectively address the emerging challenges. Erasmus+ has a crucial role in contributing to strategic goals such as the green and digital transition and promoting inclusion. To achieve these objectives, clear frameworks are essential to guide institutions and enhance visibility. Neth-ER stresses the importance of communication regarding Erasmus+'s position within these transitions and the promotion of European strategic autonomy. Neth-ER suggests a strategic approach to incentivize greener travel options and allocate the budget to large-scale projects promoting sustainability. Additionally, Neth-ER seeks greater clarity on the Commission's vision for flagship initiatives, such as Centers of Vocational Excellence and European Universities, to enable informed decision-making by knowledge institutions.

Simplification and streamlining

Neth-ER observes that the new programming period has introduced fresh initiatives to Erasmus+ but laments its increasing complexity and bureaucracy, hampering accessibility. Although the program introduced valuable instruments, it falls short of its initial promise of evolution. The heavy administrative burdens on Key Actions 1 and 2 and the new instruments, due to the need for new proofs and tightened rules, highlight the complexity. Simplification, including eliminating grant distinctions, addressing digital infrastructure issues, and accrediting entire consortia, can alleviate the burden. Neth-ER emphasizes the need for better training and communication to streamline policy with practice. Additionally, adequate support for decentralized engagement through Erasmus+ National Agencies and capitalizing on synergies with other European funding programs is a priority for Neth-ER.

Reciprocal and equal international cooperation

Neth-ER acknowledges the potential of Erasmus+ in fostering educational cooperation beyond Europe and calls for a clearer vision from the European Commission regarding the program's role in education diplomacy and strategic autonomy. We express disappointment with the absence of an education dimension in the Global Approach. Neth-ER welcomes the opportunities for higher and vocational education institutions to engage in collaborative projects beyond European borders, emphasizing the importance of developing the potential of these initiatives, particularly in vocational education. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine highlights the need to consider Erasmus+ in international cooperation and refugee integration. Furthermore, an open stance from the EU towards a possible association from the United Kingdom's with Erasmus+ is crucial, given its status as an enticing destination for European students. Neth-ER also advocates for Switzerland's swift association with Erasmus+, as it would strengthen educational ties and foster cooperation between the EU and Switzerland.


Neth-ER expands on the previous points in its position paper. The paper has been prepared in the context of the consultation by the European Commission on the final evaluation of Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and the interim evaluation of Erasmus+ (2021-2027). This consultation ends in October 2023 and is one of the first building blocks toward the next education programme which starts in 2028.