In a resolution adopted on 14 July, Members of the EP Culture and Education committee call for efforts to make Erasmus+, Creative Europe and European Solidarity Corps programmes greener, in order to further contribute to the societal change aimed for in the European Green deal. However, they stress that greening measures must not compromise the original values of the programmes, mobility, learning, creativity, and the “already extremely limited” budgets of the programmes must not be eroded.
MEPs call on the Commission to calculate the transport-related carbon footprint for Erasmus+ participants and to update current rules so that the additional costs of more environmentally friendly transport are reimbursed and longer journey times factored into grants.
They also ask the Commission to negotiate with European rail operators, and, in areas not served by rail, also bus operators, to achieve discounted fares for programme participants, following the DiscoverEU model.
At the same time, MEPs warn to not exclude participants for whom air travel is the only viable option. Physical mobility must remain the core of Erasmus+, with virtual exchange as a useful complement, they add.
The Committee also highlights the value of, for example, student associations and university green offices in helping participants to adopt environmentally sound practices while on mobility exchanges.
MEPs argue that host organisations applying to receive volunteers through the European Solidarity Corps should, over time, demonstrate sound environmental practices, but stress that, given their often small size and limited capacity, the Commission must offer targeted support to develop those sustainable practices.
Creative Europe projects can be used as an opportunity to exchange good environmental practices in content production, distribution and consumption. The resolution argues that programme participants should also be subject to an environmental charter to be developed with stakeholders from the cultural and creative sectors.
More broadly, MEPs ask the Commission to propose environmental, climate and sustainability indicators in the regulations governing the 2021-2027 culture and education programmes. The Commission should also analyse the programmes’ contribution to environmental and climate goals and their environmental impact.
They also recommend developing a label to certify, promote and reward responsible environmental practices in the implementation of the programmes. The Commission should compile and circulate recommendations based on good practices already employed by national agencies, Creative Europe desks and project developers.
The resolution will be put to plenary vote in September 2020.
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