Page last updated at 10:27 GMT, Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:27 UK

Erasmus statement

EU governments have been accused of failing young people in Europe through a lack of financial support for the Erasmus scheme.

The programme is a student exchange programme established in 1987, which allows students to study at another EU university without having to pay fees.

However, there are fears over the future of the scheme, due to a financial shortfall in its current budget, meaning there may be a lack of funding to pay for students during the second semester of the 2012-13 academic year.

Speaking during an emergency debate on on 25 October 2012, the chair of the Culture and Education Committee, German MEP Doris Pack warned that it was becoming more and more difficult for people to study abroad, with a negative consequence for economic growth.

Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski urged member states to support a multi-million pound increase on the current budget to make up the shortfall.

Speaking on behalf of the Council of Minister, Cyprus's Europe Minister Andreas Mavroyiannis assured MEPs that the scheme was not in danger.

"It will not be put in danger," he stressed.

But Ukip MEP Marta Andreasen said the Erasmus programme should be scrapped, saying it had had no impact on growth and jobs, and that it only benefited the well off.

"If people want to use it, they should pay for it out of their own pockets and not put the burden onto European taxpayers," she concluded.

Useful links:

Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work.

A disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.

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