EU Education Diplomacy: Embeddedness of Erasmus+ in the EU’s Neighbourhood and Enlargement Policies

Publication Name
EU Diplomacy Paper
Year of Publication
Constance Bobotsi
Organization Name
College of Europe
Full Date
March 2021
Subregion - European Union
EU Education Diplomacy
enlargement policies
Erasmus+ is a powerful tool of public diplomacy for the European Union (EU); however,
its international dimension remains under-researched. This paper seeks to help bridge
this gap by analysing the degree to which the EU’s engagement through Erasmus+ is
embedded in the overarching frameworks of its neighbourhood and enlargement
policies. Drawing in particular on the experience of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova,
and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU’s engagement in the Eastern Partnership and the
Western Balkans is scrutinised under three lenses: the objectives pursued, their
implementation, and the domestic receptibility of Erasmus+. The paper finds a low
degree of Erasmus+ embeddedness in the Eastern Partnership framework and a
moderate degree of integration in the enlargement framework. In light of this finding,
it argues that the EU should better employ this valuable tool in its external action and
diplomacy. The three countries are highly receptive, but domestic constraints must be
considered in EU planning. The paper concludes with policy recommendations that
seek to better embed Erasmus+ in the EU’s external policies, as well as to capitalise on
the programme’s potential as a tool for the Union’s broader diplomatic strategy.
Download document