Given the increasing risk a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission on Wednesday adopted contingency proposals to ensure the 21,000 young people participating in the Erasmus programme in the EU and the UK can complete their stay without interruption.
Erasmus+, one of the EU’s flagship programmes, covers 14,000 students, trainees in higher education and vocational education and training, youth learners, and educational staff in the United Kingdom and 7,000 such UK participants in the EU27.
In a “no-deal” scenario, they would not be able to complete their Erasmus+ term and may no longer be eligible for grants. Today’s proposal aims to remedy this by ensuring that in such a scenario, students and trainees abroad participating in Erasmus+ at the time of the UK’s withdrawal can complete their studies and continue to receive the relevant funding or grants.
In addition, the EU Commission said EU member state authorities will continue to take into account periods of insurance, (self) employment or residence in the United Kingdom before withdrawal, when calculating social security benefits, such as pensions;
Moreover, UK beneficiaries of EU funding would continue to receive payments under their current contracts, provided that the United Kingdom continues to honour its financial obligations under the EU budget. This issue is separate from the financial settlement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
“It is important to note that these measures will not – and cannot – mitigate the overall impact of a “no-deal” scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement,” it said.
Today’s proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They take into account discussions with Member States. The Commission will continue to support Member States in their preparedness work and has intensified its efforts, for example by organising visits to all EU27 capitals, it added.
The European Commission said it would work closely with the European Parliament and the Council to ensure the adoption of the proposed legislative acts so that they are in force by March 30, 2019.