Four member states – Austria, France, Sweden and Denmark – have suggested a smaller sum of 45 million ecu, while Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK want the project to receive even less money.Youth ministers will wrangle over the funding when they meet next Tuesday (28 October).The dispute is just the latest set-back for Education Commissioner Edith Cresson’s attempts to get wholehearted support from member states for EU education projects. More than 2,500 young people in the Union are already taking part in pilot projects, but Cresson wants to move the scheme into ‘top gear’ for the next five years, with funding of 60 million ecu in the initial stage (1998-99). She has also called for a further 35 million ecu for the scheme’s second year.Under the project, young Europeans between 18 and 25 would be given the chance to work in other countries, fighting social exclusion, giving humanitarian aid, protecting the environment or taking part in cultural activities. Cresson argues that it would provide youngsters with a unique opportunity to take on responsibility while discovering other cultures outside Europe. It would also help them to make the transition into working life, even though it would not guarantee them a job.The Commission stresses that the programme is not a ‘trick’ to reduce youth unemployment statistics, which are above average. Nor does it aim to rival similar national schemes.The proposal provides for youngsters to take part in activities for between three weeks and a year. They would receive a monthly allowance of around 200 ecu as well as board and lodging.