UK government claims to be committed to Erasmus+ scheme

The UK’s Department of Education maintains it is committed to maintaining the UK’s membership of the Erasmus+ Programme, despite claims from some MPs that it will pull out of the popular scheme.

The Erasmus+ scheme is a European Union (EU) programme that helps students study in other countries.

Currently, 53 per cent of UK university students who study abroad do so through the scheme.

However, earlier this week, MPs voted by 344 to 254 against a clause that would have required the government to negotiate continuing full membership of the Erasmus programme after Brexit.

Yet a spokesperson for the Department for Education said that the government remains committed to the Erasmus+ programme.

“The government is committed to continuing the academic relationship between the UK and the EU, including through the next Erasmus+ programme if it is in our interests to do so. The vote does not change that.

“As we enter negotiations with the EU, we want to ensure that UK and European students can continue to benefit from each other’s world-leading education systems.”

Chris Skidmore, the minister for higher education in England, also took to Twitter to damp down speculation about the government’s position.

“Last night’s vote- game playing by opposition parties- does not end or prevent the UK participating in @EUErasmusPlus after leaving the EU. We remain open to participation and this will be part of future negotiations with the EU- we highly value international student exchanges,” he tweeted.

In 2017, 16,561 UK students participated in Erasmus+, while 31,727 EU nationals came to the UK.

Erasmus+ is also involved in vocational training and work overseas, as well as with teachers who want to work or train abroad.

Article published 10th January 2019