The European initiative for exchange of military young officers (EMILYO), also known as Military Erasmus, aims to enable European Union initial military education and training institutions, to explore possibilities for quantitative and qualitative exchanges of knowledge and know-how through mobility of their students and personnel.

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  • The number of European crisis management operations in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and multinational military operations launched by European Union Member States have increased. It demonstrates a fast-growing need for a stronger interoperability of military forces, not only with regard to the pure technical and procedural aspects but also to the ability for the European military officers to work closely and effectively together.

    One way to foster this ability is to integrate the education and training of the servicemen and their officers. The European military officers’ educational institutes, and the Member States at a more diplomatic level, have had a long experience and tradition of exchanges, to this end.

    The experience of mobility they acquired nevertheless revealed that, due to the particular nature of the education and training they provide, the military institutes could not make full use of all the possibilities offered by the mobility instruments available which were primarily designed for civilian higher education, such as the Erasmus programme. A need was identified, therefore, for addressing together these structural obstacles at the European level.

    In the second half of 2008, the French EU Presidency then in office launched a programme of reflection on ways to allow greater integration of the initial academic and professional training of young European officers through mobility. The initiative for the exchange of young officers, inspired by Erasmus, was launched in November 2008 with the declaration by the European Ministers of Defence, meeting within the Council of the European Union, on the European Security and Defence Policy. (, 2016)



Young officers in training are the future military elites, who will have to work ever more closely together for the realisation and consolidation of the Common Security and Defence Policy, regardless of their nationality or their armed forces' branch. It is essential, with view to improve interoperability and to pave the way for a European security and defence culture, that European military students and cadets share parts of their education and training as early as the basic level and become familiar with their future role and responsibilities in international security.

The European initiative for the exchange of young officers, inspired by Erasmus, is meant to lift the barriers which may oppose to free mobility of knowledge, skills and competences of future military officers, their teachers and instructors between the European academies, schools, colleges, universities and training centres. To this end, the initiative supplements the action of the fora that have been created by European military institutes of a same service, such as the Conference of Superintendents of Naval Academies (Navy), the European Air Force Academies (EUAFA – Air Force) and the European Military Academies Commandants’ Seminar (EMACS – Land Forces).

The Conclusions of the Council of the European Union, which founded the European initiative for the exchange of young officers, inspired by Erasmus, have translated these objectives into concrete measures, such as:

  • Measures aimed at increasing the number of exchanges, such as the generalisation of the Bologna process, mutual recognition of the outcomes of exchanges in professional training, greater use of Erasmus mobility for students and personnel, opening of national educational opportunities to young European officers;
  • Measures aimed at teaching/learning about Europe and its defence, such as the creation of a common module on the Common Security and Defence Policy, promotion of the learning of several foreign languages. (, 2016)

Projects and other Initiatives

To find out more about EMILYO, please access or download the EMILYO Framework Agreement.