University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Erasmus is outdated, says founder

The 22-year old European exchange programme is in need of a serious revamp. This is according to one of the programme's founding fathers, Franck Biancheri

Erasmus is no longer delivering value for money. It ought to instead focus more on entrepreneurship rather than funding international exchanges. This is according to Franck Biancheri, one of the original initiators of the scheme, as reported on the education website

Biancheri is now president of Newropeans, the first pan-european political party.

Advocate turned critic

In the late 1980’s, Franck Biancheri was one of the most influential advocates for the introduction of ERASMUS, convincing Mitterand, who was French President at the time, to back the exchange scheme.

Now he criticises the scheme, claiming it has failed to move with the times.

He feels that ERASMUS, which costs EUR 440 million a year, ought to develop in order to accommodate the more pressing needs of the enlarged European Union, rather than simply facilitating student exchanges.

Focus on leadership and management

»We need to produce young managers trained to work throughout the EU, who are at ease in several languages and community law,« he said in an interview with European news website

The programme should also focus on democracy and facilitate short-term exchanges of young Europeans to train them in civic leadership.

Biancheri proposes that the six-month funded scheme we know today should be given back to member states and regions.

»The EU programme should evolve to cutting-edge educational policies, responding to the Union’s current needs,« he says.

Students define their own future

Inge Knudsen, Director of the COIMBRA Group, a Brussels-based association of 38 long-established European multidisciplinary universities, is sceptical about Biancheri’s comments.

»The remark about having to train young managers is off the mark, especially when we are all trying to make higher education accessible to more young people,« she said, adding that:

»It is not up to the Erasmus Programme to define what the students will become.«