Key challenges

in youth cooperation between the programme and the neighbouring partner countries.

Feedback received from organisations based in the Partner regions suggests that organisations in the Partner regions have been facing some difficulties using the Erasmus+: Youth in Action programme and find it increasingly difficult to find partners and financial support for projects. An analysis of data about the cooperation with the different regions has confirmed that overall, with slight variations, the cooperation with the Partner regions has been stagnating.

According to the perception of organisations from partner regions, there is generally less interest among organisations in Programme countries in cooperation with neighbouring partner countries. Nowadays, it seems that many youth organisations from EU countries do not see or understand any reason for cooperating particularly with partners from the EU neighbourhood. Different budget limitations for the cooperation with neighbouring regions (like KA1 25% limit, limited access to grants within the Capacity Building in the field of youth etc.) as well as bureaucratic difficulties related to visa regimes and/or residence permits further demotivate EU organisations from cooperation.

The structural framework of stakeholders responsible for youth cooperation with neighbouring partner countries is rather complex. Several EC Directorates and structures are directly involved: different units in DG Education and Culture (EAC), DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Erasmus+ youth and European Solidarity Corps National Agencies, SALTOs etc. In the neighbouring regions, National Erasmus+ Offices as well as EU Delegations (for instance with their Youth Ambassadors initiative) play an important role. It is also worth mentioning the national ministries responsible for youth in these countries and their potential in developing youth cooperation with the EU.

The fragmented approach in the European youth programmes is ineffective. Erasmus+ youth KA1 opportunities play a key role complemented by volunteering opportunities of the European Solidarity Corps. Both opportunities are not indicating any specific aims nor priorities for cooperation with neighbouring partner countries. Possibilities within KA3 are limited and rarely used by organisations from neighbouring countries, while Strategic Partnerships are open for participation only to a very limited extent.

On the other hand, the regional “Youth Windows” under Erasmus+ KA2, Capacity building in the field of youth, offer opportunities according to very specific aims and frameworks that are also different for each region. This means that the approach taken under Capacity building is not only different but also inconsistent with the rather general approach taken by the other parts of the Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps programmes that are open for Partner countries.

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