Uncertainty plagues the fate of Erasmus Program for the UK students, as MPs have voted by 344 to 254 against a clause that would have urged the government to negotiate membership of the Erasmus Program after Brexit.
Erasmus Program is prestigious study program, upheld by EU consortium; providing students from all over the world with a chance to study internationally. Many student from UK can safely say that Erasmus Brexit is finally happening on January 31, 2020, under PM Boris Johnson’s watch.
Britain exiting the European Union implies several structural, economic changes in ties between the UK and the rest of the countries in the European Union. After the parliament decision, it would appear that program will no longer benefit the young Brits. At present, almost 53% university students from the UK, who study abroad, are enrolled in one or the other program of the Erasmus scheme.
Erasmus scheme not only provides study options, but vocational training and overseas work opportunities to teachers who want to work or train abroad.
The Erasmus Program has relied on free movement of EU students, to and from the UK, in 2017 16,561 UK students took part in the program and some 31, 700 EU national travelled to the UK in order to participate in the Erasmus exchange.
As per the BBC report, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who tabled the new clause to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, said it should have been a “no-brainer”.
However, the current defeat of the clause does not mean that the UK will completely disregard the full membership of the Erasmus scheme. During the transition period, once the withdrawal agreement is ratified by the European Parliament upon passing from the UK’s Parliament, the funding for the Erasmus scheme will continue as before at least until complete ‘exit’.
There is a sense of confusion amongst the students from UK, as to whether they should continue applying to the Erasmus program or not. Albeit, the Universities UK, is recommending its member to continue applying for funding through Erasmus or a new national Support Study Abroad scheme.
On the other hand, the House of Lords EU Committee, as per reports has warned that the international Erasmus program will be greatly difficult to replicate due its many benefits for, “people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with medical needs or disabilities” There is still quite a bit of ambiguity when it comes to UK’s participation, in the program run in seven-year cycles. Even if the government decides to continue with the Erasmus scheme, it may not be able to negotiate the terms before the start of the new cycle in 2021.
Nonetheless, the Erasmus Program will continue to grow it would appear, considering the European Commission has decided to double the funding to €30bn for the next cycle. Even though a lot is yet to be decided, but it seems the non-EU will be able to take part in the program more easily from the next cycle, 2021-2027. The non-EU will, however, have to pay to be a part of the program.
This would not be the first time that the non-EU will get to participate in the program. For instance, Turkey, Iceland, Norway and Serbia are “program members” without being EU member-states. ,