FG Call For Erasmus Scheme To Be Extended To Older People

Fine Gael has called for the Erasmus programme to be extended to older people.

Fine Gael's spokesperson on European Affairs, Neale Richmond, made the call as European Commission President nominee, Ursula Von der Leyen committed to triple the Erasmus budget.

Deputy Richmond said: "Former European Commissioner, Peter Sutherland, established the Erasmus programme in 1987 as a student exchange programme.

"In 2014 the remit was widened to include all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport in 2014 with a budget of €14.7 billion under Erasmus Plus.

"More than four million people have participated in Erasmus and Erasmus Plus programmes covering original student exchanges as well as youth and staff exchanges.

"With the extremely welcome remarks by Ursula Von der Leyen that she intends to triple the Erasmus budget in the next European budget beginning in 2020, there is a scope now to further widen the programme.

"As people look to planning their life post-retirement there is huge potential for opening-up Erasmus Plus for older people.

"Such a move could foster much greater inter-generational solidarity as well as giving older persons the opportunity to spend more time in other European countries participating in civic, social or educational programmes.

"Erasmus should be for all Europeans regardless of their age."

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