How will Brexit affect learners on ongoing Erasmus Plus mobility exchanges?

The topic of Brexit has been an issue on the news all around the world. Great Britain exiting the European Union is certainly going to have a lot of different effects in various fields. One of those fields is going to be the European Programmes. Of course, the country will take measures to assure the safe transition from Programme country to Partner country, however that does not mean that the results will not be difficult to deal with.

One question that arises, when it comes to EU Programmes and Brexit is, what is going to happen to the ongoing projects and the people taking part in them. The European Union is able to provide some answers to the questions and we are certain that in time all the conundrum around EU Programmes and Brexit will be solved.

On January 30th, 2019, new measures were proposed by the Commission, that will help avoid any disruption of the Erasmus Plus learning mobility activities that involve the United Kingdom and any organization originating from there. The measure focus on the case of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, aka the no-deal scenario. Here are the measures, as provided directly by the European Commission:

Who is covered under this proposal?

The proposal for the Erasmus+ Contingency Regulation covers ‘learning mobility’ as defined in the Erasmus+ Regulation. This means:

  • the mobility of students in all cycles of higher education and of students, apprentices, and pupils in vocational education and training;
  • the mobility of young people in non-formal and informal learning activities and in volunteering activities;
  • the mobility of staff in the field of education and training;
  • the mobility of persons active in youth work or youth organizations and youth leaders.

What does this Regulation ensure?

The Regulation ensures that people who are abroad through an Erasmus+ funded learning mobility activity on the day the UK leaves the European Union will not see their mobility period interrupted.
This applies for example to a French higher education student on an Erasmus+ mobility in London, but equally to a UK student in vocational training taking part in an Erasmus+ traineeship in Budapest.

How long will the temporary measures be applicable for?

These measures will apply until all Erasmus+ learning mobility activities that started before 30 March 2019 have been completed, taking into account that these mobility activities can have a duration of up to a maximum of 12 months.

Is this only applicable to Member States?

It is applicable to all Erasmus+ programme countries, i.e. EU Member States, plus Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Turkey, Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and the UK.

What happens to UK learners sent on an Erasmus+ exchange outside the programme countries?

All ongoing Erasmus+ mobility activities, including international activities that started before 30 March 2019, will be covered by the contingency measures.

What happens to Erasmus+ participants from countries other than the programme countries, who are on an exchange in the UK on 29 March?

All ongoing Erasmus+ exchanges that started before 30 March 2019 will be covered by the contingency measures.

How will you inform the concerned citizens about their fate after 29 March?

Through their national Erasmus+ contact points: the Erasmus+ National Agencies established in each Erasmus+ programme country.

What happens to those who will start their mobility activity after 30 March 2019? Are they covered?

The proposal for the specific Erasmus+ contingency regulation aims to avoid the very disruptive impact a “no-deal” scenario would have for citizens who are abroad on the day the UK leaves the Union. It is an immediate solution, to the most immediate problem. Therefore, this Regulation does not cover mobility activities starting from the date of withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

At the same time, the Commission proposed a horizontal contingency regulation (Regulation on measures concerning the implementation and financing of the general budget of the Union in 2019 in relation to the withdrawal of the UK from the Union). This proposal will cover learning exchanges starting after 30 March under certain specific conditions and in a more restrictive way.

Who will pay for this measure? How much will it cost?

The Union contribution to the ongoing mobility activities covered by the proposal was already provided for in the general EU budget.

What happens to the UK National Agency on 30 March?

Under this proposal, the UK National Agency will carry out the ongoing learning mobilities which started before 30 March.
We cannot speculate on the fate of the UK National Agency beyond this point.

Will UK universities lose the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education on 30 March?

Under this proposal, the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education will apply to UK universities until they carry out the ongoing learning mobilities which started before 30 March.

Will the learning period spent in the UK after 29 March 2019 still be recognized at home?

No formal recognition is automatically linked to a learning period abroad. This is up to the Member States and the academic institutions.

What about learners from programme countries who are on an exchange or studying in the UK on 29 March, but not funded through Erasmus+?

This is beyond EU competence.

Does this measure also cover European Solidarity Corps activities?

The proposed contingency measures cover activities funded through the Erasmus+ programme. This does not exclude volunteering mobility activities financed under the Erasmus+ programme and starting before 30 March 2019.

Does this proposal also cover Discover EU activities?

Discover EU is not financed by Erasmus+, therefore it is not covered by this proposal.

What about cooperation projects under Erasmus+ signed before 29 March?

A lot of European cooperation projects involve a UK partner or have a UK coordinator. The fate of projects contracted before 29 March 2019 will depend on whether the United Kingdom continues to honor its financial obligations under the EU budget. If the UK does so, funding can continue until end-2019.

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