If approved the new budget will introduce several changes which will benefit young people in particular. In this regard, ECAS has noted the increase in funds for Erasmus+. An extra 12.1% will be spent on the programme, reaching a total of EUR 30 billion over the period. Although it is not yet clear how much of the funding will be allocated to activities involving youth participation and the use of digital tools, ECAS welcomes this measure.
With our mission being largely centered on promoting and defending citizens’ rights, ECAS also considers the proposal for a new Justice, Rights and Values fund (comprising the Rights and Values, and Justice programmes together) highly promising. Aside from continuing the Justice programme’s work, the fund aims to make room for more engagement and democratic participation in political and civil society which are defined as ‘essential tasks for the future EU budget‘.
As part of the Commission’s long-term commitment to upscale digital innovation, the new budget is also set to allocate EUR 9.2 billion towards a new Digital Europe programme to support EU’s digital transformation. The list of areas in which the budget will be invested does not appear to include e-democracy or ICT tools fostering online citizens’ engagement.
We can only hope that the Council and the European Parliament will clarify the Erasmus+ spending and encourage the incorporation of digital tools for e-participation in the Digital Europe programme.