The ERASMUS programme celebrates its 30th birthday this year. Touted as a European Union success story, over the past three decades, four million people have signed up across 33 countries.
Young people wishing to study or do an internship abroad have tended to opt for Spain, Germany, France and the UK as their destinations of choice.
But with the rise of eurosceptic groups, citizens clamouring for change and Brexit on the not-so-distant horizon, Europe is living through a period of turbulence.
Italy’s Undersecretary for European Affairs, himself a former ERASMUS student, said he hoped funding for the programme would leap from two to 20 billion euros by 2026.
Sandro Gozi told euronews he’d like to change the way things currently stand and see a more united Europe.
“Europe absolutely has to break away from the status quo. If it stays like this, there will be no more Europe in 30 years. The disintegration that has already started will continue.
“If Europe makes a political choice to exit this status quo, though, I imagine a Europe of sustainable development, a federal Europe, a protagonist in the world.”
Italy is also a popular choice among students. A conference on the general state of the ERASMUS generation was held there on Friday (February 24, 2017). It’s also the birthplace of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the European Union.