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Increased budget for SOCRATES programme

The EU's SOCRATES action programme in the field of education is to receive an extra ECU 70 million in funding for the two years it has left to run (1998-1999) following an agreement reached by the Council and Parliament in the conciliation committee of 10 December 1997.

"Educ...
The EU's SOCRATES action programme in the field of education is to receive an extra ECU 70 million in funding for the two years it has left to run (1998-1999) following an agreement reached by the Council and Parliament in the conciliation committee of 10 December 1997.

"Education and training constitute a sector which is due to receive priority attention as a key instrument for the future of the Union", said Mrs. Edith Cresson, Commissioner for research, innovation, education and youth, at a press conference following the conciliation meeting. "This confirmation of the amount of extra funding will give an important signal regarding the EU's wish to be closer to its citizens", she said, "It's a real Christmas present for all the schools and universities, students, pupils and teachers who have worked so hard to strengthen the European dimension in the education systems of the 18 countries taking part in the programme".

The allocation of the extra funding will be the subject of detailed consultation with the Member States at the beginning of 1998. In the Commission's view at this stage, areas where more money is crucially needed include:

- ERASMUS grants for studying abroad;
- Support for schools taking part in European partnerships under the COMENIUS chapter of the programme;
- Establishing genuine reciprocity in exchanges with the Central and Eastern European countries which, along with Cyprus, are now becoming involved in the programme.

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