In a joint statement published today, organisations representing UK and EU student groups alongside the UK higher and further education sectors have called on negotiators to compromise on the terms of the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme as part of the overall UK-EU negotiations.
The Erasmus+ programme is the EU’s main education programme that facilitates international mobility between the UK and EU and has to date facilitated over 10 million international mobility opportunities.
As the sixth round of negotiations on the future relationship of the UK and the EU recommence this week, the statement urges both the UK and the EU to renew their commitment to work towards a solution that represents students’ interests and provides a positive outcome for future generations of learners.
The reported progress made on UK participation in Union programmes is welcomed and the groups have urged negotiating teams on both sides to continue this momentum and not to forget the students, young people and educators that lie at the heart of the programme.
Future access for UK students to participate in the next Erasmus+ programme, which starts in 2021, is at risk should an agreement not be reached, and EU students could also lose the opportunity to study and work in the UK as part of the programme.
Representatives from the main student bodies in the EU and UK in agreement with education sectors argue in the statement that a mutually beneficial agreement on Erasmus+ can be reached, but any failure to compromise would be detrimental to students’ opportunities, particularly combined with the negative long-term impacts of Covid-19.
AoC's International Director, Emma Meredith said:
“We already know that young people are amongst the most disadvantaged in an economic downturn. The Erasmus+ Programme benefits college students right across Europe who have had few positive chances in life - now is not the time to cut off the their opportunities even further. The UK and the EU must commit to giving future students the opportunities they deserve. I hope that the negotiations have young people at the heart of their decision-making in order to maintain this invaluable educational mobility programme that enhances the employability and personal development skills of students across our education system."
You cna read the full statement here.