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Annual Theme 2022 – Investment in education and training: a public good for all

Why an Annual Theme?

The Lifelong Learning Platform addresses forward-looking issues in the field of education and training on an annual basis. This year’s theme will be explored during different events and meetings at the crossroads between the French and Czech Presidencies of the Council of the EU, thus helping the transition and bridging with the outcomes of the Future of Europe Conference led by the French Presidency.

Investment in education and training: a public good for all

Why investment?

Investment in education and training remains, today, a broad theme and certainly a topical item on the EU’s agenda. LLLP wishes to approach the topic of investment from the standpoint of social inclusion – specifically in relation to closing the learning gaps amplified throughout the pandemic: how do we recover better? With the polar star of investment to bounce back, funding in education, training and lifelong learning opportunities should focus specifically on fair access, vulnerable groups and inclusion in representation. The latter is a crucial theme given the high interest in the EU and member states’ agendas on who is to fund lifelong learning: the answer to this question determines the crucial question of inclusion. This conversation started with the Finnish Presidency and the Council Resolution on financing education in 2019 and it continued with the Croatian Presidency who requested an opinion from the EESC on sustainable financing for lifelong learning in 2020.

The revision and launching of the new Skills Agenda introduced the idea of the Individual Learning Accounts. Following the health crisis, the EU launched the Recovery and Resilience facility where one of the main measures touches upon funding for upskilling and reskilling. Funding education and training is a recurrent issue that will continue to be high on the agenda for the years to come and which will be at the heart of the French Presidency too in 2022. The French Presidency plans to look at the right to lifelong learning and what instruments are to finance it. The pandemic questioned the funding of education and training and its impact on rising inequalities which will continue to be shown in the years to come. The new European Parliament initiative on the European Education Alliances is calling for an Education Investment Plan under the CoFoE. Social partners such as ETUCE are also using the CoFoE to call for lifelong learning opportunities for all and its respective funding. These are a few of the many initiatives under which this issue can be addressed.

Strengthening the role of public funding for education means, conversely, that education stays a public good for all. Therefore, “who” or rather “what instruments” finance lifelong learning are not questions to be taken for granted, as they entail cascade effects on the structures, pedagogies, objectives, curricula, inclusion and representation in education and training. Such an assumption should therefore not be taken for granted; the Lifelong Learning Platform will seek to explore its many facets during the year to come, with the usual support of its members and of the European institutions.


  • Public good until what point? Public financing at risk
  • Commodification of learning and the human capital: serving markets and not learners
  • Education that empowers the already empowered: supporting inclusion


This theme will inform most of LLLP activities for the year: from the brand new LLLab to the LLLWeek, from the annual position paper to its desk research, from an advocacy campaign in investment in lifelong learning to the Lifelong Learning Interest Group. Stay tuned for more!

Erasmus+ Coalition joint statement on the revised proposal for EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027

The European Commission’s revised proposal for the next long-term EU budget (2021-2027) brings both hope and disappointment. The strong commitment to European cooperation and public investment demonstrated by its proposed allocation of 1.1 trillion euros, along with 750 billion euros for recovery instrument NextGenerationEU, is a positive sign for the future of Europe. Addressing the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the green and digital transitions, certainly requires ambitious public investment. In this regard, Europe cannot afford to leave people behind by failing to adequately channel such investment into funding programmes which have a tangible and positive impact on their lives while also helping to tackle the above challenges and contribute to the EU’s recovery. However, compared to the Commission’s original proposal from 2018, the revision surprisingly reduces the allocation to such programmes.

Read the full statement here

The revised EU budget: is it enough to build a learning Europe?

On 27 May, the European Commission published its revised proposal for the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (2021-2027) along with the new financial instrument Next Generation EU aimed at helping EU Member States recover from the crisis provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together these amount to a total of 1.85 trillion euros for the next seven-year period. 

We welcome this ambitious financial package as a clear demonstration of the added value that European cooperation brings in such challenging times. Nevertheless, while increases to many funding programmes including Erasmus+ compared to the current MFF are a welcome development, we are concerned that the key role of education, training and lifelong learning in the recovery and overall future of Europe have not been recognised. Indeed, the proposed budget for Erasmus+, which at 24.6 billion euros in 2018 prices amounts to less than the doubling put forward that year, falls short of the ambition expressed by the European Parliament and Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen herself.

As drivers of social cohesion, economic prosperity and innovation, education, training and lifelong learning remain vital for the personal and professional development of all people across Europe, as well as their well-being. They are key for empowering citizens in their daily lives. Hence, we stress that they should be a cross-cutting priority across the next generation of EU funding programmes. Erasmus+, for instance, has repeatedly proven its immense value in promoting skills development across various fields, fostering a sense of European belonging and solidarity and supporting cross-border cooperation among learners, educators, civil society organisations and policymakers. In light of the far-reaching impact of the pandemic on our education and training systems, including the investment gap in digital solutions that it has brought to light, we need this now more than ever. 

Synergies between the future Erasmus+ and other programmes touching on social welfare, skills and employment (European Social Fund Plus, 86 billion euros), digitalisation (Digital Europe, 8.2 billion euros), social infrastructure (InvestEU, 31.6 billion euros) and research and innovation (Horizon Europe, 94.4 billion euros) also have vast potential for supporting Europe’s path to recovery. After all, education, training and lifelong learning are not just means to an end, or for meeting short-term demands on the labour market, but serve as a vehicle for promoting creativity, adaptability,  entrepreneurial spirit and innovative solutions. These will all be crucial in dealing with Europe’s common challenges in the months and years to come. 

We call on the Member States to back an ambitious budget for education, training and lifelong learning – in all their shapes and forms – in the next MFF and as part of the EU recovery plan. As we navigate our way out of this crisis, they will be fundamental for empowering people, supporting their well-being and active participation in society, and ensuring our readiness to solve the challenges that lie ahead.


The Lifelong Learning Platform (European Civil Society for Education) is an umbrella that gathers more than 40 European organisations active in the field of education, training and youth. Currently these networks represent more than 50 000 educational institutions and associations covering all sectors of formal, non-formal and informal learning. Their members reach out to several millions of beneficiaries.

Contact: policy@lllplatform.eu – Rue de l’Industrie, 10 – 1000 Bruxelles – 02 893 25 15

ESU and ESN urge EU Council to align with EP proposal to triple the funding of Erasmus+ 2021-2027

“As the voice of all European students in higher education and within the Erasmus+ programme, we would like to stress that continued investment in Erasmus+ is needed in order to reach the European wide target of 20% mobile students,” says Sebastian Berger, Vice President of ESU. “We believe that it is a political imperative to take this incredible European success story forward by securing sufficient funding for the next cycle.”

Kostis Giannidis, President of ESN declares that “tripling the funding of the next programme is crucial to ensure more equal access for a larger group of beneficiaries from all ages, especially those from disadvantaged groups, who are still underrepresented within Erasmus+.” Giannidis affirms that “the programme needs to benefit the many, not only the few. Increased accessibility and a focus on creating an inclusive program have to be at the heart of all policy considerations.”

ESU mobility expert and EC member Monika Skadborg concludes with stating that “a strong and well-funded Erasmus+ will reinforce the global dimension of the programme and the internationalisation of education in Europe. This will lead to a more cohesive society, active citizenship and intercultural understanding.”

The European Students Union (ESU) and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) launched their “Joint Position Paper on the Future of Erasmus+” this morning in Brussels. Read the full “Joint Position Paper on the Future of Erasmus+” here.

For further information and requests kindly reach out to:

Carlos Perez Garcia (ESU) | +43 699 81 33 65 42 | carlos.perez@esu-online.org

Sabina Achim (ESN) | +32 470 47 22 25 | communication@esn.org

CULT Committee adopts report on Erasmus: strong call for LLL approach

In the context of the MFF negotiations, the LLLPlatform is happy to share yet another milestone achievement! The European Parliament’s CULT Committee adopted its report on the 2021-2027 Erasmus+ programme!

This report, pending the final adoption in the Plenary on 25 March, outlines the Parliament’s position ahead of the “trilogue” negotiations with the European Commission and Council of the EU for the definition of the new Erasmus+ programme.

The Lifelong Learning Platform is particularly happy because we see our advocacy efforts, as fostered in the framework of the Erasmus+ Coalition, reflected in the adopted document. So, what did we achieve?

Among other elements, the report:

  • calls for triple budget for the 2021-2027 period (against ‘only’ the double, as in the Commission’s proposal);
  • addresses the needs of people with fewer opportunities by foreseeing language training, administrative support or e-learning opportunities before and during mobility;
  • defines a more cross-sector lifelong learning approach than the EC’s original proposal by including it as a clear and specific objective;
  • envisions that all project applications by EU-wide networks should be managed at centralised level (rather than nationally in Belgium, etc.);
  • calls upon the EC to develop an inclusion strategy for the programme to act as a framework to be adapted and implemented by the National Agencies;
  • promotes more co-funding and synergies with other European programmes, as our Erasmus+ Implementation Survey Report highlighted.

The consolidated text will be available here in the coming weeks. The vote in favour of the Erasmus+ report was transversal, in that all major political groups have expressed their satisfaction with the text and its ambitious objectives. The LLLPlatform will keep on advocating for equity and social cohesion in education and training, and will continue to do so with the strength of its membership, without whom none of this would have been possible!