Brexit: Attempt to trigger Article 16 a ‘mistake’ says Sefcovic
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Cristian Terhes, of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said some in the European Parliament had let their “anti-Brexit agendas” get in the way of doing their real jobs. His remarks come after more than 100 MEPs signed a letter calling for the European Commission to invite British students to participate in the EU’s Erasmus student exchange programme. Boris Johnson decided against rejoining the scheme after Brexit because the bloc’s offer did not good value for British taxpayers.
Renewing our membership would’ve cost around £2billion, according to the Department for Education.
But this didn’t stop a number of anti-Brexit MEPs, including EU Parliament Brexit chief and German Reintke, from calling on Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen to invite Scottish and Welsh students to the scheme.
But Mr Terhes insisted his colleagues should instead focusing on providing opportunities for students from EU member states.
He told Express.co.uk: “The way it is envisioned by some, the Erasmus programme would let rich, middle-class British kids benefit from EU funds to go to Paris, while school children in Romania would be missing out on funding.
“MEPs should not let their anti-Brexit agenda get in the way of university students who currently live within the EU itself.
“Education for students, not revenge on Britain should be the EU’s motive in this matter.”
Responding to their letter, Mrs von der Leyen dismissed Scotland’s chances of rejoining the Erasmus scheme.
The top eurocrat said the Commission would not treat Scotland “separately” while it is still a member of the United Kingdom.
Mrs von der Leyen wrote: “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 added: “The Commission is aware of the Scottish government’s statement on the UK decision not to associate to Erasmus, and my colleague Mayria Gabriel has met Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, the Scottish Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, who was keen to explore options for Scottish participation.
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“However, as one constituent nation of the UK, association to Erasmus is not possible for Scotland, separately.
“The only possibility for the UK is to associate as a whole, or not at all.”
Britain has instead announced plans for a new global education exchange scheme, named after wartime codebreaker Alan Turing, aimed at students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “The UK decided to not participate in the next Erasmus+ programme as it was not in the interest of UK taxpayers and our net contribution would have been around £2 billion over the programme.
“The new global Turing Scheme is designed to provide thousands of students across all of the UK the opportunity to study and work abroad, beyond EU countries, and will include additional support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We will continue to work with the sector and devolved administrations to deliver the programme, backed by over £100 million, ensuring students from all backgrounds benefit from the opportunity to learn across the world.”
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