Following the publication of the Government’s Brexit negotiating strategy this morning (Thursday), Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has warned that abandoning the Erasmus scheme will be a disaster for Scottish students and universities.
Section 21 of the document reveals that the UK will “consider options for participation in elements of Erasmus+ [after 2021] on a time-limited basis, providing the terms are in the UK’s interests.”
This suggests that the UK may seek looser membership of Erasmus as a ‘partner country’, which would mean less funding for British universities and colleges to offer student and staff exchanges. Instead, they would be reliant on their partners in EU member states to manage projects and funding on their behalf.
Universities have warned that partner country status will mean fewer opportunities to study abroad, higher costs, less influence over the future of the programme and a possible cap on the number of students who are able to take part.
Beatrice Wishart said:
"This will be a disaster for Scottish students and universities.
"Instead of ensuring that our universities remain open, international and outward looking, these proposals show that Brexit means going it alone.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue leading the charge to stop the Conservatives recklessly taking us out of this and other vital EU programmes.”