The European Parliament and the Council have published Decision No 819/95/EC of 14 march 1995 establishing the Community action programme SOCRATES. The budget for the programme is ECU 850 million over five years (1995-1999) which represents a 50% increase in the budget for the 1990-1994 programmes it replaces (ERASMUS and LINGUA). SOCRATES is a new European programme which combines the activities undertaken in previous programmes in the field of education in order to achieve greater coherence. It broadly operates on three levels: - In universities: SOCRATES takes over the activities so far run under ERASMUS. The emphasis, as in the past, is on encouraging student mobility through the award of ERASMUS grants enabling them to complete a study period in another European country which will be fully recognized by their own university; - The specific COMENIUS programme within SOCRATES will also enable the European concept to be brought into schools. Its aims are to: . Encourage partnership links between schools in different Member States enabling them to develop joint initiatives in areas such as language learning, pupil exchanges and exchanges of experience and teaching materials; . Promote the use of information technology; . Help education staff keep their skills up to date through training placements/courses and acquisition of new teaching methods; . Cater better for the education needs of migrant workers and children of itinerant families (gypsies, fairground entertainers, seafarers); - SOCRATES will also implement more general measures outside schools and universities, such as promoting language learning, supporting open and distance education, promoting exchange of information and experience through conferences, exchanges of experts, etc.