As a member of the European Economic Area, Liechtenstein, like Iceland and Norway, has had the opportunity to participate in EU programmes such as the European education and youth programmes since 1995 – a success story spanning more than 25 years.
The first two phases of the programmes (1995–1999 and 2000–2006) were called “Socrates” (general education), “Leonardo da Vinci” (vocational training) and Youth in Action (2000–2013). Starting in 2007, the two education programmes were merged, first in the “Lifelong Learning Programme” (2007–2013) and in the fourth generation (2014–2020) in the Erasmus+ programme with the areas “Education”, “Youth” and “Sport”. The statistical analysis of the Erasmus+ programme shows that around 10,000 people have been involved in Liechtenstein projects since 2014.
As regards research and development, Liechtenstein participated in the fourth (1994–1998), fifth (1998–2001), sixth (2002–2006) and seventh Framework Programmes (2007–2013). The Liechtenstein Parliament decided against participation in the eighth Framework Programme “Horizon 2020”. Cost-cutting efforts led to a massive reduction in participation when the EU programmes ended in 2013. Liechtenstein took part in only three EU programmes between 2014 and 2020: Erasmus+, European Statistical Programme and “Rights, Equality and Citizenship” Programme.
For the European programme period 2021–2027, the Government and Parliament decided to participate in the EU programmes Erasmus, EU Single Market, Digital Europe, Creative Europe and European Solidarity Corps.
In the Erasmus programme, apart from the topics of mobility and cooperation, the promotion and reinforcement of dual-track vocational education and training as well as adult education are interesting, as is international mobility for vocational education and training beyond the EU and the focus on the new target group 50+. Added to this is the concept of a “Green Erasmus”. The Europass project is also enhanced, a website of the EU to create CVs and cover letters. Liechtenstein wants to promote this actively.
The Digital Europe programme focuses on building the strategic and digital capacities of the EU and the EEA. For the digitalisation of Liechtenstein, the focus is on “cyber security and trust”, “digital capacities” and “interoperability”. In addition, the private sector can submit projects in the areas of “high-performance computing” and “artificial intelligence”.
The Creative Europe programme supports all artistic domains with its sub-programme “Culture” and the audiovisual sector with its sub-programme “Media”. This allows cultural and creative actors from the small state of Liechtenstein to work across borders and distribute their works throughout Europe. Furthermore, it covers transfer of knowledge, promotion of translations of literary works, access to European prizes for literature, architecture, music and cultural heritage, as well as Liechtenstein productions at film festivals and the participation of the film industry in co-productions.
The EU also has various programmes to foster convergence and solidarity between Europe’s regions, as well as regional competitiveness. Liechtenstein has the opportunity to participate within the Interreg framework. The INTERREG IV programme “Alpine Rhine – Lake Constance – High Rhine” (ABH) is deemed a successful project (2007–2013). One of nine objectives was to increase the attractiveness of the common natural and cultural heritage.
The International Lake Constance Conference and the Interreg programme work closely together. Since 2010, around 350 projects with over 600 regional project partners have been funded through the ILCC Small Projects Fund with resources from the ILCC and the Interreg programme Alpine Rhine – Lake Constance – High Rhine, including “Destination Museum”, for which around 50 museums in Vorarlberg (Austria), Liechtenstein and in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen offer special family programmes.
Liechtenstein partners can participate in cross-border cultural projects and student exchanges through the EEA Financial Mechanism. One example is the exchange between Liechtensteinisches Gymnasium (Liechtenstein Secondary School) and the German-speaking secondary school in Brno/Czech Republic. The EEA Financial Mechanism (EEA Grants) is the solidarity contribution of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. These funds support EU countries in Eastern and Southern Europe. Liechtenstein focuses on Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The European Cultural Convention has been in force in Liechtenstein since mid-1979. The cultural policy of Liechtenstein is in line with those of the Council of Europe to promote identity, creativity, diversity and access to cultural life.
Liechtenstein is not a member of UNESCO.
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