The Erasmus Programme (“EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”) is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme established in 1987.Erasmus+, or Erasmus Plus, is the new programme combining all the EU’s current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, which was started in January 2014.
In 1989 the Erasmus Bureau invited 32 former Erasmus students for an evaluation meeting in Ghent, Belgium. The lack of peer-to-peer support was singled out as a major issue, but it was also a driving force behind the creation of the Erasmus Student Network. The organization supports students from Erasmus programme and other bilateral agreement and cooperates with national agencies in order to help international students. As of 23 July 2020, the Erasmus Student Network consists of 534 local associations (“sections”) in 42 countries and has more than 15,000 volunteers across Europe.
As of 2014, 27 years after its creation, the programme has promoted the mobility of more than 3.3 million students within the European community. More than 5,000 higher education institutions from 38 countries are participating in the project.
The Erasmus Programme, together with a number of other independent programmes, was incorporated into the Socrates programme established by the European Commission in 1994. The Socrates programme ended on 31 December 1999 and was replaced with the Socrates II programme on 24 January 2000, which in turn was replaced by the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 on 1 January 2007.