How Erasmus is Dealing with Brexit

The countdown for the preparations of the 2018 Erasmus+ programme has begun. Coventry University, which is partnered with over 70 universities around the world, is the first university in the UK for international experience. But what is going to happen with the next generations when the country leaves the European Union? Here it is how Coventry University is dealing with Brexit on the Erasmus programme.

The Erasmus+, the name of the exchange project of the European Union, is acclaimed to be the largest in the world as well as one of the most successful policies ever made by the EU. However, in recent years, the programme has been strongly influenced by the UK´s exit from the alliance, better known as Brexit. The process to leave, which began in June 2016, and its outcome in 2019 will determine the future of the British participation in the European scheme.

For that, some European universities could lose their exchange agreements with the United Kingdom. However, according to the European law on Erasmus (Regulation EU No. 1288/2013), the programme is not only formed by the member states of the EU but also by the following non-EU countries: “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Turkey”. Thus, the United Kingdom could make the decision to remain in the programme as part of this last group.

But at the moment, European laws still apply to the British country while the negotiations are held and, The National Agency for Erasmus+ in the UK “strongly supports continued full membership of the programme through to 2020”, according to their official website.

Centre for Global Engagement (CGE), Coventry University responsible for the student exchange, has told the outgoing students that “their current placement arrangement will not be affected”. Besides, they have said that they “have demonstrated a passionate commitment to our European students, academic partners and stakeholders already for a number of years”, so “the funding will still be given, and people from first and second years will still be able to go abroad”.

On the other hand, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, in Madrid, is one of the universities which has a partnership with Coventry University. Its department for International Relations has assured that they “have received a message of calm from the British universities they have an agreement with”, and have been told that “nothing has changed” but that they “will be sent any information with the news towards the situation of Brexit and the Erasmus Programme”.

Eventually, Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed on the Article 50 letter that the United Kingdom “will, of course, continue to fulfil its responsibilities as a member state while it remains a member of the European Union”, and that involves the Erasmus programme. So, it will be necessary to wait for the final resolution to find out whether the situation remains the same and the British Universities continue as active participants on the Erasmus+ programme.

Leticia G. Benitez


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