Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 1 850 million

Official Journal Reference

L 28 of 2000-02-03

Legislative Reference

2000/253/EC of 2000-01-24
To contribute to the development of quality education; to strengthen the European dimension in education at all levels; to promote cooperation in the field of education; to help remove the obstacles to cooperation; to encourage innovation associated with new technologies.


The extension of the Socrates programme is part of a series implementing the new generation of programmes in the field of education (SOCRATES), training (LEONARDO DA VINCI) and youth. All the programmes will start on 1 January 2000 and run until 31 December 2006.

The overall budget for the programmes will be EUR 3,520 million of which 1,850 would go to the second phase of the SOCRATES programme, ECU 1,150 would go to the second phase of the LEONARDO DA VINCI programme and ECU 520 million for the implementation of the Community Action Plan "Youth".

The decisions involve a genuine reshaping of the current programmes and the concentration of Community interventions around a limited number of objectives, as well as simplified procedures. In line with the communication "Towards a Europe of knowledge" and the recommendations contained in Agenda 2000, the focus of the proposal is on the necessity to ensure lifelong opportunities for every European citizen.


The programme comprises eight actions:

- School education (Comenius):

Reinforcing the European dimension of school education, to encourage transnational cooperation and to promote language learning, through:

. School partnerships: the creation of multilateral partnerships between schools through multimedia means, especially those which involve teacher training establishments, local authorities, businesses and parents;
. Staff involved in school education, contributing to the career development of staff working in the school education sector through multilateral projects from establishments and bodies involved in the training of educational staff, also by making use of multimedia facilities;

- Higher education (Erasmus):

Reinforcing the European dimension of higher education at all levels, and encouraging transnational cooperation between universities, through:

. European interuniversity cooperation, which should, wherever possible, make use of the facilities offered by multimedia. Participating universities conclude an 'institutional contract' with the Commission;
. Mobility of students and university teachers between Member States organised in the framework of 'institutional contracts';

- Adult education and other educational pathways (Grundtvig):

Seeking to encourage lifelong learning, in particular by offering other educational routes for citizens who want to gain new knowledge. This will complement the other actions (school and higher education). It is aimed at young people who left school with insufficient basic training, and may involve:

. New educational approaches, seeking to encourage initiatives aimed at developing more flexible, less formal educational methods;
. Adult education, to improve the quality of education available to adult learners, in particular by reinforcing cooperation between the various bodies working in the field and strengthening the European dimension of adult education;

- Teaching and learning of languages (Lingua):

Enabling the Commission, in partnership with the Member States, to ensure the coordination and consolidation of measures relating to the learning of languages, with a view to promoting and maintaining linguistic diversity within the Community, helping to improve the quality of language teaching and learning and promoting easy access to lifelong learning opportunities tailored to individual requirements;

- Open and distance learning, information and communication technologies in the field of education (Minerva):

Ensuring the coordination and consolidation of measures relating to open and distance education and the use of new information and multimedia communication technologies in the field of education;

- Observation and innovation:

. Contributing to the transparency of education systems in Europe through the exchange of information and experience turning the specifics of national systems into a source of quality European education;
. New innovatory initiatives, including support for transnational projects aimed at developing innovations in one or more specific sectors of education;

- Joint actions:

. Providing Community support for joint actions with other actions under the knowledge policy, in particular Community vocational training and youth programmes designed to widen access to knowledge. Coordination between the different programmes may be achieved by common calls for proposals. The Commission will develop a joint information and observation arrangement with regard to good practice in the field of knowledge, and joint actions on education and training multimedia;

- Accompanying Measures:

. Financial assistance may be granted to initiatives aimed at promoting the objectives of the programme, provided that they are not eligible for assistance under other actions.

The actions will be implemented through the following measures, in the form of operations which may be used in combination:

- Support for mobility of people in the field of education in Europe;
- Promotion of virtual mobility in the context of education, particularly by promoting access to educational multimedia;
- Support for the development of European-level cooperation networks permitting the mutual exchange of experience and good practice;
- Promotion of language skills and understanding of different cultures;
- Support for innovatory pilot projects based on transnational partnerships designed to develop innovation and quality in education in order to create educational products, instruments of skills accreditation or in order to test out any new approach;
- The constant improvement of the Community terms of reference through support for the dissemination of good practice and through the observation and dissemination of innovation.


The Commission, with the Member States, will ensure the implementation of the actions covered by the programme and to make the best of what has been achieved under the first phase of the Socrates programme. Member States will be responsible for organising the coordination and follow-up needed to attain the objectives of the programme, in accordance with national practice. To do this, they will establish an integrated management structure for the implementation of the programme. This will, among other things, provide effective information and publicity on the programme.

The programme's measures will be implemented as joint actions, with other Community actions forming part of the knowledge policy, particularly Community programmes in the area of education and youth-related matters.

The Commission will be assisted by a committee made up of Member State representatives and chaired by a Commission representative. The committee will be assisted by two subcommittees in the areas of school education and higher education. The will be made up of representatives of the Member States. The committee will play a major role in assessing the arrangements for the implementation of the programme, the criteria applicable for establishing the breakdown of funds between the Member states under the decentralised measures and the arrangements for evaluating the programme. In carrying out the programme the Commission may use technical assistance organisations.

The Programme is aimed at all pupils, students or other learners; staff involved in education; all types of educational institutions; and the people responsible for education systems and policies at local, regional and national level within the Member States as well as public or private bodies cooperating with educational institutions.

Participation will be open to Central and Eastern European countries (CEEs), Cyprus, Malta, the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Turkey and Malta, subject to the existing, anticipated or yet to be agreed arrangements laid down for their participation in Community programmes.

The programme will have two Selection procedures:

-Decentralised selection procedure: the Member States management structure select the projects and allocate financial assistance in accordance with the relevant guidelines;

- Centralised selection procedure: Requests for financial assistance are submitted to the Commission who forward them to the Member State management structure. Decisions on financial assistance for projects are made by the Commission after receiving the opinion of the committee.

The Commission and the Member States will continually monitor the programme. Member States will submit to the Commission by 31 December 2003 and 30 June 2007, respectively, reports on the implementation and impact of the programme.

The Commission will submit to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions an interim evaluation report on the implementation of the programme no later than 30 June 2004, a communication on the continuation of the programme by 31 December 2006 and a final report by no later than 31 December 2007.
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