Erasmus 2021-2027: Most Important News & Changes in Key Action 2

What to know about the (changed) actions, budgets & everything else
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Erasmus 2021-2027: Most Important News & Changes in Key Action 2

Erasmus 2021-2027: Most Important News & Changes in Key Action 2 900 600 Gedas Kondrackis

This post will go over all the main changes and news in Erasmus 2021-2027 programme. To be more precise, we will focus on Key Action 2 in the field of youth and sports. Please note that this is a summary of the main changes.

If you are completely new to Erasmus+, I would recommend reading the full programme’s guide on the official Erasmus 2021-2027 website.

Est. reading time: 8 minutes
Author: Active Youth Association – a leading European NGO, which seeks to be at the forefront of ‌creating‌ ‌an‌ ‌inclusive‌ ‌&‌ ‌sustainable‌ ‌life‌.
Actions analysed: Erasmus+ KA2 cooperation partnerships, small-scale partnerships & Capacity Building in the field of Youth (CBY).

Erasmus 2021 KA2 in the field of youth (and sports)

Cooperation partnerships (formerly Strategic partnership)

Briefly: the primary goal of Cooperation Partnerships is to allow organisations: 1) to increase the quality and relevance of their activities; 2) to develop and reinforce their networks of partners; and 3) to increase their capacity to operate jointly at a transnational level. The action seeks to do that through exchanging or developing new practices and methods as well as sharing ideas.

Small-scale partnerships (new)

Briefly: With lower grant amounts awarded to organisations, shorter duration and simpler administrative requirements (compared to the Cooperation Partnerships), this action aims at reaching out to grassroots organisations, less experienced organisations, and newcomers to Erasmus+ KA2.

Capacity Building in the Field of Youth

Briefly: Capacity-building projects are international cooperation projects based on multilateral partnerships between organisations active in the field of youth. The reach of this action is global.


  • Cooperation partnerships – 20th of May
  • Small-scale partnerships – 20th of May, 3rd of November
  • Capacity Building in the field of youth (CBY) – 1st of July

Main Erasmus 2021 changes / news:

Cooperation partnerships (formerly Strategic partnership)

  • Partners can come from anywhere in the world (i.e. Partner countries are eligible too)
  • Minimum 3 countries participating (used to be 2)
  • Duration – from 12 to 36 months (used to be 12-24)
Extra focus on:
  • Environmental sustainability – think green travel (e.g. train instead of plane), implementing greener practices in the activities (e.g. no food waste, recyclable materials, etc.)
  • Inclusion and diversity – there are extra incentives (e.g. additional €100 per participant with fewer opportunities in training events) to include participants from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Digital dimension – I will just quote the guide here: virtual cooperation and experimentation with virtual and blended learning opportunities are key to application success
Awards criteria – what’s new:

Relevance of the project:

  • Extra points if the proposal addresses the priority “inclusion and diversity”;
  • the proposal is suitable for creating synergies between different fields of education, training, youth and sport or it has potentially a strong impact on one or more of those fields;

Quality of the project design and implementation:

  • the project incorporates the use of digital tools and learning methods to complement their physical activities, and to improve the cooperation between partner organisations.
  • The project is designed in an eco-friendly way and incorporates green practices in different project phases

Quality of the partnership and the cooperation arrangements:

Well-built partnership looks to be far more important for the evaluation than it used to be. Personally, I totally agree with this. Too many good ideas were ruined because of improper partnerships.


  • the project proposal includes concrete and logical steps to integrate the project results in the regular work of participating organisations;

That’s another right step in the award criteria. Including the results in your regular work means two things: 1) that you would aim to create something usable; 2) that the delivered result would continue on being used.


Here I will not delve into the specific budget lines/elements. Instead, I will happily announce that the budget range seems to be significantly increased. Let me quote the guide:

The total project grant is a variable amount, with a minimum of 100 000 EUR and maximum of 400000 EUR for projects with a minimum duration of 12 months and a maximum duration of 36 months. Or, 250000 EUR on average.

For comparison, in the previous years the average budget for an approved KA2 project would range from around 100000 to 120000 EUR. That is on the lower end of the current proposition, hence it is likely we will see higher funding.

For Cooperation partnerships proposals in the field of Sport:

The proposed funding model consists of a menu of 3 single lump sums, corresponding to the total grant amount for the project: 120 000 EUR, 250 000 EUR and 400 000 EUR. Applicants will choose between the 3 pre-defined amounts according to the activities they want to undertake and the results they want to achieve.

Thinking about submitting Cooperation partnerships proposal? Then check out our project writing webinars and the ultimate project writing guide.

Small-scale partnerships (new)

The publicly stated objective of this action is to attract and widen access for less experienced organisations (and newcomers to Erasmus+) to the programme. These partnerships should act as a first step for organisations into cooperation at European level.

For that reason, both the eligibility and award criteria are simplified (in comparison to Cooperation partnerships – discussed above). In other words, the hurdle (entry barrier) is much lowered with this action. Especially knowing that KA2 used to be one of the toughest nuts to crack among the Erasmus+ (2014-2020) ensemble.


The same is also true for the budget of small-scale partnerships (quoting the guide):

The proposed funding model consists of a menu of two possible lump sums, corresponding to the total grant amount for the project. Applicants will choose between the two pre-defined amounts according to the activities they want to undertake and the results they want to achieve: 30,000 EUR OR 60,000 EUR (note: these are lump sum amounts).

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Capacity Building in the Field of Youth (CBY)

The CBY was always about supporting youth organisations and youth work in partner countries (i.e., outside of Europe). If you would like to learn more about the action itself, check out this blog post of ours.

If you are acquainted with CBY, read on:

Thematic areas / Specific objectives

New: the action is now asking the proposals to focus on one or more of the following thematic areas:

  • political participation and dialogue with decision-makers;
  • inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities;
  • democracy, rule of law and values;
  • empowerment / engagement / employability of young people;
  • peace and post-conflict reconciliation;
  • environment and climate;
  • anti-discrimination and gender equality;
  • digital and entrepreneurial skills.

There seems to be additional focus on various forms of cross-sectorial cooperation:

  • NGOs and decision makers, public authorities;
  • NGOs and organisations active in the education and training fields as well as with organisations from the labour market, etc.
Eligibility criteria

What’s new (quoting the Erasmus 2021-2027 programme guide):

  • Capacity-building projects are transnational and involve minimum 2 organisation from 2 different Programme countries and 2 organisations from at least 1 eligible Partner country (i.e. at least 4 organisations from minimum 3 countries).
    • The number of organisations from Programme countries may not be higher than the number of organisations from Partner countries (there was no such requirement before)
  • The duration of the projects is increased to a maximum of 3 years (used to be 2)
Expected income

What’s new (from the guide):

  • contributing to the ‘Engage-Connect-Empower’ priorities of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
  • upscaling existing practices and outreach beyond the partnership, including making good use of digital means to stay connected under all circumstances even in situations of remoteness, isolation or confinement;
  • linking the results to local communities, creating job opportunities and nurturing innovative ideas that could be replicated and scaled up in other settings in Partner countries.
Award criteria

Quality of the project design and implementation

  • The appropriateness of measures for selecting and/or involving participants in mobility activities, if any (read: more focus on inclusion of participants)

Quality of the partnership and the cooperation arrangements

The quality of partnership seems to be given more importance than before (at least from the wording in the guide). And that is a step in the right direction. Because great partnerships make great projects. Full stop.

And now the funding

The EU grant per project will vary from a minimum of 100.000 € and a maximum of 300.000 €. That is a big increase! Before the maximum used to be (just) 150,000 €. This means that the commission will likely fund bigger projects (hopefully, not less of them).

What are other (big) changes here:

  • It is a lump sum now and the making of the budget has changed greatly;
  • The funding rate (up to 80%) will now be the same for all types of activities (used to be 80% for capacity building activities and 100% for mobilities);
  • The budget should be detailed as necessary by beneficiary/-ies and organized in coherent work packages (for example divided into ‘project management’, ‘training’, ‘organization of events’, ‘mobility preparation and implementation’, ‘communication and dissemination’, ‘quality assurance’, etc.);
To sum up

That’s it folks, finally we have the updated programme. And, for the most part we see a significant increase in the budgets of Erasmus 2021-2027 KA2. Also, there is more focus on:

  • Partnerships
  • Inclusion of participants from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds
  • Greener approach / sustainability
  • Going digital / blended mobilities (i.e. a mix of physical and online)

Please note, that this was just a quick overview of what is new and what has changed in KA2. Should you know more, do one of the following:

  1. check out the full guide on Erasmus+ website
  2. take part in our project writing webinar(s) and learn everything about Erasmus 2021-2027 KA2 (more below)

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Gedas Kondrackis

A for-purpose entrepreneur bent on bringing 21st century tools and techniques to the NGO world.

All stories by : Gedas Kondrackis

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