Long-term EU budget: MEPs slam cuts to culture and education

  • Cuts to education and culture sectors are “unacceptable”
  • These sectors are among the most affected by the pandemic
  • Erasmus, Creative Europe and Solidarity Corps programmes to be affected

The Culture and Education Committee criticised the cuts to education and cultural programmes made by the Commission in its new proposal for the 2021-2027 budget.

In a debate on Monday in the Culture and Education Committee with the Commission, all MEPs referred to cuts in the revised MFF proposal (MFF: Multiannual Financial Framework) as “unacceptable” for EU culture and education, stressing that these sectors were particularly depleted by the COVID-19 crisis and need increased support to recover.

While commending the “unprecedented level of financial support” in the EU Recovery plan, tabled alongside the revised MFF, they criticised the Commission for rowing back on its first MFF proposal in 2018.

“We do not support the Commission’s proposal”, said Committee Chair Sabine Verheyen, at the opening of the debate. “Here is what this means for EU programmes: the Solidarity Corps will be offering fewer opportunities to young people – full-stop. “Creative Europe” will be supporting fewer artists and fewer creators — full-stop. For Erasmus+, we can kiss goodbye to the aim of reaching 12 million participants — because we are not prepared to offer everyone lower-quality, short-term exchanges just to get the numbers up”, she added.

Culture and Education Committee MEPs also pointed to the promise made by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ahead of her election, when she pledged to support the EP’s request to triple Erasmus+ funding in the MFF 2021-2027.

Video statement by Chair Verheyen, following the debate

Re-watch the full committee debate

Next steps

After the revised MFF proposal was tabled by the Commission on 27 May 2020, it is now up to EU member states to agree on their position. The EP needs to approve any MFF before it can come into force.


Compared to the Commission’s initial MFF proposal (2018), the May 2020 revised proposal (when calculated in 2018 prices) presents a 20% cut to the European Solidarity Fund, a 13% cut to Creative Europe and a 7% cut to Erasmus+.