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Interview with Mr. Robert Franče

head of sector Erasmus+ Youth in the Directorate General for Education and Culture


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Can the Erasmus+ programme be useful for the integration of young refugees?

The Erasmus+ programme can be considered as a good tool to support the integration of refugees. Already in November 2015 representatives from National Agencies from all sectors came together to discuss what the programme can exactly offer. On the website you can find some examples of initiatives taken by the colleagues from the education sector.

Bearing in mind the fact that volunteering and youth work are very well placed to address the issue of refugees, concrete steps have been taken to promote the possibilities of the programme in the field of youth already in October 2015 for the round 3 for submitting project proposals. Further more concrete steps have been envisaged for 2016.

It’s to be expected that the need for support will not disappear in the coming years.

Does Erasmus+ – and especially the Youth part – react to the situation, give priority to projects with/around/for refugees? And if so how?

At the beginning of my answer let me underline that the newly arrived migrants are one of our target groups and we are not lowering our efforts to reach out to further disadvantaged groups.
In 2016 adjustment in programme implementation have been made in order to further strengthen the inclusion dimension and take into account not only the refugee crisis but as well the objectives of the Declaration on Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education (Paris Declaration). Let me mention two main changes. First, social inclusion became an overall priority for Strategic partnerships for all sectors. Second, in the field of youth an emphasis in selection of KA1 mobility projects is put on reaching out to young people with fewer opportunities including newly arrived migrants as well as equipping youth workers with competences and methods to reach out to marginalised youth.
I should as well mention the recently published call on Social Inclusion through education, training and youth were 3 million EUR (out of total 13 million EUR) are dedicated to youth activities like transnational cooperation projects, large-scale volunteering and National Agencies networking.

Which elements of the “Inclusion and Diversity Strategy – in the field of youth” do you see as most relevant for this topic or have been/will be adapted according to the new situation?

As said in the previous answer, non-formal learning, youth work and volunteering can significantly contribute to address the issues of newly arrived migrants. We believe that not only sharing of inspiring practices will make it. We are working closely together with the National Agencies in the field of youth and with SALTO Inclusion to provide support to organisations and youth workers to develop high quality inclusion projects. We hope that a strategic approach in each country (based on the needs and practices in the country) towards inclusion would be beneficial concerning the long term achievements. It’s to be expected that the need for support will not disappear in the coming years.

What kind of projects would the European Commission like to see in this field?

To get a flavour of successful projects you can go to the Erasmus+ project results platform . I am convinced that we will receive many inspiring projects in the future. And I hope we will be able through such projects and the work of the programme structures to create inspiring ideas which may change some practices in youth work.

Is there any political discussion/planned action that youth workers planning projects in this field should be aware of?

It may be worth to mention that an expert group on anti-radicalisation has been established with the objective to produce practical advice on how to tackle violent radicalisation. The expert group should deliver its results by the end of 2016 as planned in the EU Work Plan for Youth 2016-2018.

Alex Beweis
by Alexandra Beweis (2016)

Alexandra Beweis works as project manager at POYWE . She is also a trainer and facilitator and active in different areas of youth work since 1994.

Photo  © Robert Franče
Video © European Commission


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