Serbia became the 34th Erasmus+ Programme Country
In February 2019 Commissioner Navracsics signed the agreement with Serbia’s Minister for Education, Science and Technological Development, Mladen Šarčević.
This was the formal approval of the big step that Serbia has taken this year: to join the Erasmus+ Programme as a Programme Country.
Serbia has been gearing up to this new status over the last two years, and has been through a tough assessment procedure to ensure it is fully ready to join the other 33 Erasmus+ Programme Countries in Europe.
Erasmus+ is a worldwide programme, and over recent years, Serbian organizations have gained wide experience of taking part in Erasmus+ as a Partner Country. For example, since 2014, almost 7,000 Serbian students and staff have experienced a learning period abroad, and around 4,300 Europeans went to Serbia.
What does Serbia gain by joining the Erasmus+ Programme?
Well, the benefits are numerous. Serbian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is now able to sign direct bilateral agreements with other HEIs that participate in the Programme. This leads to more Serbian students going on an exchange in the rest of Europe – and also to more students from the rest of Europe going on an exchange in Serbia.
Apart from this, Serbian HEIs has the opportunity to participate in all the other parts of the Erasmus + Programme as coordinators and partners alike, which was not possible until the agreement.
Being a Programme Country for Erasmus + also means an increased budget for financing projects and wider possibilities for youth organisations and for those employed in the field of education.
With the country joining the Erasmus+ Programme, Serbians get involved in a much wider range of activities. Besides higher education and youth, the country now enjoy wider participation in sport, vocational education and training (VET) as well as school and adult education projects for cooperation and mobility. In this sense, the Agreement is helping build bridges and create more space for people-to-people contacts and mutual understanding between Serbia and the EU. It also means that Serbia can reach out to partners outside Europe under international projects.