This is a statement that we all know about Franck Biancheri, who tells in many articles, videos (see the video below, when he was selected among the 14 challengers of Reto 2030), but especially in his book “The emergence of eurocitizens – a brief history of AEGEE-Europe” how in March 1987 during a lunch at the Elysée with the students of AEGEE he convinced the French President François Mitterrand to support the Erasmus program, something obtained the very next day in a public statement of Mitterrand.
In a recent interview with the Messaggero Veneto (Udine edition of 04/09/2017), Domenico Lenarduzzi, who at the time was the head of the European Commission’s “Community policies for education and youth” tells how Mitterrand was convinced to support the Erasmus program. There is no doubt that Domenico Lenarduzzi was a key man in the adoption of the ERASMUS program. The student and the European civil servant made the history of this program. Excerpts:
“The possibility of having access to quality education,” says Lenarduzzi, “made an indelible mark on my professional career and when I became an official at the European Commission I thought that all students should have access to excellence, regardless of race, religion and economic situation, exactly what happened to me. The mobility of teachers and students would offer this opportunity.”
Initially, few supported him, but his tenacity gained the upper hand and thanks to the support of another convinced European, Franck Biancheri, he succeeded in giving life to Erasmus, this program of study which in thirty years has seen millions of students going to study in different countries of the European Union.
It took about ten years for the idea of Domenico Lenarduzzi of the Erasmus program to come into life in 1987. A mission he shared with Franck, who was founder and president of AEGEE, Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe, better known as the “European Students’ Forum”, the first student association born in Europe.
Two “utopians” who believed in the change of a “mobile and European” education.
Lenarduzzi, the obstinate, began his battle against everything and everyone. Education was not seen as an area for action by the European Commission.
“But I read meticulously the Treaty of Rome,” says the Friulian, “in which an article specifies that the free movement of goods and persons must be ensured in Europe.”
Franck supported me and during a lunch he explained the Erasmus project to President François Mitterrand, who was finally convinced of the value of this project and spoke with the French Minister of Education.
Denmark, which was firmly opposed to the program applied to the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The jurists agreed with me and recognized education as a community sector. The Education Task Force was created, which has since become the European Directorate-General for Education.”
However, the battle had only just begun, and the gates of skepticism were so numerous…
- Read the interview (Italian): Funzionario dell’Ue friulano: “Il programma Erasmus? Così ho convinto Mitterrand” – Paola Del Degan, Messaggero Veneto (Edizione Udine – 04/09/2017)