Welsh students unable to rejoin Erasmus scheme after Brexit decision

They can only participate if the ‘whole’ of the UK agrees to join

As part of the Brexit deal, the UK government has decided to discontinue with the EU’s Erasmus scheme. Although Welsh and Scottish governments made attempts to remain in the scheme, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wales and Scotland can only be a part only if the “whole” of the UK agrees to join back.

In a letter to a Member of European Parliament (MEP), Ms von der Leyen said: “The EU offered the United Kingdom full association to the Erasmus programme in exchange for the standard financial contribution from third countries participating in union programmes”

“Following a year of constructive negotiations with the UK government, the decision was made in London not to pursue UK association to Erasmus”.

She continued: “As one constituent nation of the UK, association to Erasmus is not possible… separately”. The EU Commission President stated that the only chance for the UK to re-join the programme is “as a whole, or not at all.”

German politician Terry Reintke expressed her disappointment on Twitter, but promised to “explore how Scotland and Wales could stay in Erasmus+.”

Earlier this month First Minister Mark Drakeford accused the UK government of a “small minded approach” for the withdrawal of the Erasmus scheme. He said Erasmus is “one of the jewels of the European Union.”

Although Wales and Scotland have been forced to discontinue, an agreement between the Irish government and the EU has allowed Northern Irish students to continue with the Erasmus programme.

In a counter measure, the UK government announced an initial £110m investment in its worldwide replacement – the Turing scheme.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “The Turing scheme will give students in Wales the support and opportunity to study and work abroad, no matter their background, by boosting access to student exchanges across the globe.”

To open doors to collaborations with international universities, on Monday 22nd February 2021 Cardiff University announced two tuition free international summer schools with the University of Gothenburg and TBS Business School.

The courses offered are four week virtual programmes running in June and July of this year.

For more details on the courses, students can contact the Global Opportunities team on the university.

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