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the abandonment of Erasmus is controversial in the United Kingdom

There is everything that the “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”, agreed between London and Brussels on December 24, contains: a trade treaty, cooperation in matters of security, transport or data exchange. And all that it doesn’t contain, like keeping the UK in the very popular Erasmus exchange program. This choice is already controversial in the United Kingdom: it is highly contested in academia and the Scottish government, opposed to Brexit, has denounced a “Very hard blow” for his students, Monday, November 28, and says to think “To alternative solutions”.

“This scheme has helped to bring countries and nationalities closer together and has brought considerable cultural and educational benefits”, Scottish Minister for Higher Education Richard Lochhead, a member of the SNP independence party, said in a statement. Renounce Erasmus, “It’s cultural vandalism”, for her part launched Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter.

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At 1er January 2021, the United Kingdom will have left the European customs union and internal market, but London could have made the choice, even as a third country, to remain a member of “Erasmus Plus”, the exchange program of students and teachers in the European Union (EU), for a fee – this is the case in Norway, Serbia or Turkey. “London has demanded partial participation in the program, which Erasmus does not allow”, specifies the European Commission, in a document on the terms of the “Trade and Cooperation Agreement” posted on December 24th.

Between 2014 and 2020, around 100,000 UK students were able to study one or more semesters abroad (around 15,000 per year), according to Brussels. “I regret that the British government did not wish to participate in the Erasmus exchange program”, declared Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the Twenty-Seven, very attached, like many other Europeans, to a device created in 1987 and which has become one of the most tangible benefits of the EU.

“A big disappointment”

In January, Boris Johnson declared in the House of Commons that participation in the “Erasmus program is not in danger”. The Prime Minister now considers that it is “Extremely expensive” – it was valued at around 200 million euros per year until then.

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