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UK withdraws from Erasmus as post-Brexit trade deal agreed

A trade deal has been struck between the UK and European Union following the historic exit of the UK from the Union.

In a press conference, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, expressed his relief that the “clock is no longer ticking” and highlighted the positives from the deal and ceremoniously thanked the negotiating teams from both sides.

Barnier expressed his disappointment that the UK have chosen not to participate in the Erasmus Plus programme, which enables students both within the UK and Europe to study and undertake internships overseas.

In 2017 16,561 UK students participated in Erasmus, whilst 31,727 EU nations came to the UK. The Erasmus programme provides both opportunities and funding to support those students wanting to undertake a mobility within the EU. Mobilities typically last between 3 and 12 months either as a semester or full year abroad as part of studying a degree at university. Internships vary greatly from as little as a few weeks up to full placement years, undertaken by both graduates and those studying under/post graduate degrees.

When asked about the Erasmus programme, Johnson stated “the decision to leave the Erasmus programme was a difficult one” adding that the chancellor of the exchequer decided that the scheme was simply too expensive and welcomed the savings that would be made by leaving the scheme. We [the UK government] will set up the Turing programme to send students to the best universities across the globe. However, details on what this programme will consist of remain to be seen.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated that the EU and the UK will stand shoulder to shoulder tackling issues across the world, including at next year’s COP 26 in Glasgow and G20 summit in Italy.

Johnson went on to express his joy that sovereignty has been restored to the UK with taking back control of our own laws and ability to trade free from barriers. He did emphasise that the UK will remain politically and geographically aligned to Europe.


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Roo Pitt

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May 2022
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