§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the state of negotiation of the EC SOCRATES and Youth for Europe III proposals.
§ Mr. Boswell
Both proposals were finally adopted at the Council of Ministers' meeting on 10 March. The Council agreed that the SOCRATES decision should contain a finance article setting the programme's budget at 850 million ECU—£689 million1—over five years, subject to neutral review by the Council and the European Parliament after two years. A finance article was also agreed for Youth for Europe III setting its budget at 126 million ECU—£102 million—over five years. The proposals had previously been approved by the European Parliament on 1 March.
SOCRATES is the first major European Union initiative to encourage practical co-operation at all levels of education across Europe. While each member state will keep its distinctive education system, schools will benefit from developing new partnerships with schools from other European countries. These partnerships will particularly help children learning the languages of the European Union.
In addition, there will be continuing support throughout the education system for teachers, colleges and 512W universities, including continuation of the ERASMUS programme. I hope, later this month, to launch the national agencies which will distribute money to institutions which bid successfully.
1 converted at 1 ECU = £0.8103.