Erasmus may not be the only matter to resolve


I confess I have not read any of the 2000 pages in the EU deal, but one of the clear headlines is Erasmus so it seems sensible to remind our Government of some of the statements that they made in the last few years. That said there are bound to be other subjects that need to be reconsidered. However in the case of Erasmus the most recent statement came from Boris way back on 15th January 2020 at Prime Ministers Questions when he stated

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is talking through the back of his neck. There is no threat to the Erasmus scheme, and we will continue to participate in it. UK students will continue to be able to enjoy the benefits of exchanges with our European friends and partners, just as they will be able to continue to come to this country.

A few months earlier in June 2019 Liz Truss kindly stated

The Government has highlighted the UK’s intention to explore a future relationship with the European Union, as well as a commitment to consider programmes which are in line with the UK’s priorities on science, education and innovation such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus and which will benefit all parts of the UK.

A few months earlier in January 2019 Kwasi Kwarteng stated

Of course, we are seeking to reach an agreement with the EU so that UK organisations can continue to participate in Erasmus. We are committed to that. As my hon. Friend will know, a number of countries participate in the Erasmus scheme that have never been members of the EU—I believe Israel is one such country—so there is no reason why we cannot have a similar arrangement.

Later on the same day in another debate Michael Fabricant asked this question which was answered by Robin Walker

MF: A number of university students have been traumatised by remainers saying that they will no longer be able to participate in the Erasmus programme. Will my hon. Friend—if he is not right honourable, he should be—reassure them that the programme is open not only to students in the European Union, but to those in Canada, Israel and other countries outside the EU?

RW: My hon. Friend has made an excellent point. The Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, my hon. Friend Kwasi Kwarteng, mentioned Israel in this context earlier. It is true that Erasmus has a number of non-EU participants, and it is clear that the UK has ambitions to continue its cultural co-operation with the EU even after we have left.

The earlier and only other statement I have bothered to include came from Dominic Raab who stated back in September 2018

My hon. Friend has read the technical notice and will see that we are keen to make sure that we can provide continuity for Erasmus. In some aspects of the technical notice, in order to avert some of the more significant disruptions we need some good will, collaboration and co-operation from the other side. We will work through that with the EU and will be encouraging it to make sure that in the worst-case scenario there is enough good will, notwithstanding the failure of the negotiations, to make sure that we do the right thing by UK citizens and EU citizens—and that includes our students.

So over the next few days one imagines all of these people will work hard to ensure that Erasmus is revisited and included in our deal!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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