EU rubbishes Spain’s Erasmus cutback claims

EU rubbishes Spain's Erasmus cutback claims
It’s not the first time Wert has got a slap on the wrist from the European Union. Photo: Pierre Philippe Marcou/AFP
The European Commission has dismissed claims by Spain’s highly unpopular Education Minister that grants for Spanish students on Erasmus, the European university exchange programme, will be halved next year.

Jose Ignacio Wert has been forced to eat his own words once again after the European Union’s education spokesperson Dennis Abbot labelled the Spanish minister’s announcement as “rubbish” and “totally false”.

“The only explanation possible is that Spanish authorities plan to reduce their own contribution,” Abbot explained as he clarified that the EU’s education budget will be bumped up by 4 percent in 2014 and 60 percent in the next seven years.

The EU is also set to introduce an upgraded version of the study programme called Erasmus Plus, which will encompass more educational and work fields.

This all contradicts Jose Ignacio Wert’s words when on Monday he claimed the new Erasmus programme would hinder Spain as “funds would be distributed on the basis of each country’s population”.

As Spain is the EU’s fifth most populated country but fourth in terms of education grants (€124 million) and third in higher education (€33 million) Wert erroneously believed that would entail a cutback in funds for Spain.

It’s not the first time Wert has got a slap on the wrist from the European Union.

Last Tuesday, Spain’s Education Minister was forced to reverse his decision to restrict the number of education grants given to the 40,000 Spanish university students who are currently studying abroad with the Erasmus student exchange scheme.

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