The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign to protect the UK’s place in Erasmus. Over 3 million British students have been able to study and work abroad in Europe thanks to the EU funded exchange programme. Now due to the looming Brexit, over 100,000 students in the coming years face the threat of being denied the same opportunities offered to previous generations.
Uncertainty has been cast over whether UK students will be able to participate in the programme with the official website saying ‘definitive answers on the programme’s future, particularly in relation to UK students and Universities, may take time.’ The Swiss example in 2014 however sets a worrying precedent, as due to a referendum to re-introduce quotas for EU immigrants being passed, Swiss undergraduate students are unable to participate in the programme. Recognising this, Tom and the Lib Dems have decided to act early in order to safeguard the UK’s place in the programme.
Tom, who was schooled in France from the age of 8 to 18, said this about the programme: ‘Students who take part in the Erasmus programme often describe it as some of the best times of their lives, not to mention the university experience. The ability to be fully immersed in another culture is hugely valuable to the individual and to us as a nation. Our young people learn skills and techniques that cannot be learnt here in the UK, for example becoming fluent in a foreign language. The Lib Dems value this as a vital pillar of our higher education system and we are therefore determined to protect it for future generations.’