Three Questions for Erasmus Alumna Frauke Muth

A short interview with the head of JUGEND für Europa
Reading time: 3 min.

What can EU youth programmes do to tackle the challenges of our times?

EU youth programmes can make an important contribution to embedding European values in our society in a sustainable way. They do this by offering concrete opportunities. Particular support is given to those for whom there are fewer opportunities for participation. EU youth programmes also fund, for example, young people’s commitment to refugees or activities on climate protection or digitalisation. And they support projects that make young people’s voices heard in political and social processes. Through educational measures, they can further sharpen young people’s awareness of the burning issues of our time.

The impact of EU youth programmes is great if they can work in a sustainable and targeted way. They cannot offer ad-hoc solutions to acute social problems. The adult generation should also not make the mistake of shifting responsibility for the future to the youth. But many challenges want to be tackled now, and more and more young people want to become active now when it comes to shaping their future in a sustainable way. EU youth programmes offer many opportunities for this.

What have you personally learned from young people in recent times?

That you do not have to be an adult to get your priorities right. My impression is that young people are very much aware of the world today, its crises and challenges. And they take them seriously, they want to tackle them. In comparison, as a teenager I was more concerned with myself, with my own crises and challenges. Never judge others by yourself!

You spent two semesters on an Erasmus grant in the French town of Reims. In what way did this influence your career path?

Through Erasmus I got an idea for the first time of how big and diverse the world is, and what unlimited possibilities there are! Together with a Finnish friend I met in Reims, we once wrote down the “essence” of our Erasmus year in six or seven key words over a glass of red wine in our student residence. Enthusiasm for Europe was already a kind of leitmotif for us. And the two other important impulses for me are still: curiosity/lifelong learning and the iron rule of not taking oneself too seriously. The former has brought me to the exciting stations of my career so far, the latter has helped me to master them.

Durch Erasmus bekam ich zum ersten Mal eine Idee davon, wie groß und vielfältig die Welt ist, und welche unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten es gibt!
Frauke Muth
© Kathrin Weident

Frauke Muth has been head of JUGEND für Europa, National Agency for the EU programmes Erasmus+ Youth, Erasmus+ Sport, and European Solidarity Corps in Germany, since mid-December 2022. Prior to this, she worked for Innovation Norway, from 2013 in Oslo and from 2020 in Bucharest as head of the Romania and Bulgaria offices.

Questions asked by Marcus Klein