In 2007 the European Commission integrated its various educational and training initiatives under the umbrella of the Lifelong Learning Programme.
The Erasmus program (which is now part of the Lifelong Learning initiative) started in June 1987 and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2007. Itís one of the best-known Community initiatives and has become a driving force in the modernisation of higher education in Europe, inspiring the establishment of the Bologna Process.
Few European programs have had a similarly wide reach: around 90% of European universities (more than 3,100 in 31 countries) take part in Erasmus and 2 million students have participated.
Erasmus became part of the EU's Lifelong Learning Program (LLP) in 2007 and expanded to cover new areas such as student placements in enterprises (transferred from the Leonardo da Vinci program), university staff training and teaching for enterprise staff.
The purpose of Erasmus is to improve the quality of higher education and strengthen its European dimension. It encourages transnational cooperation between universities, fostering the European mobility of students and teachers, and contributing to improved transparency and academic recognition of qualifications and studies throughout the European Union.
The participating countries in Erasmus are: