Stirling MP Welcomes Fresh Erasmus Hope

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Stirling MP Alyn Smith welcomes news that a letter calling for an investigation into ways Scotland and Wales could stay in Erasmus has been sent to the EU Commission.

The letter, signed by 144 Members of the European Parliament, requests clarification into a solution allowing students from the two countries to continue to participate in the European Exchange programme.

Students would no longer be able to participate in the programme after the UK Government chose not to continue membership in it now that the UK has left the European Union.

Instead, the Government opted to create a UK-based ‘Turing Scheme’ which many see as a worse option.

The news comes amongst reports from The Times of talks between Holyrood and Brussels being underway.  

Alyn Smith said: “This show of solidarity from like-minded European colleagues is really welcome, and demonstrates the strength of feeling Scotland and Wales attracts within the European Union.

‘The loss of Scotland’s membership of the Erasmus scheme has been shameful, made more painful still by the fact Scotland overwhelmingly rejected Brexit in the 2016 referendum.”

Smith, a former MEP, thanked German MEP Terry Reintke who was instrumental in gathering the support of her colleagues for the letter.

A University of Stirling spokesperson said: “Partnered with more than 70 universities across four continents, the University offers a wide range of once-in-a-lifetime study abroad opportunities – enabling our students to see the world, experience new cultures and broaden their horizons.

“For many years, the Erasmus+ programme has played a fundamental role in enabling our students – and those from other UK institutions – to enjoy these life-enriching experiences abroad.

“Notably, in recent years, the numbers of students and staff members taking advantage of the programme has increased significantly.

“The higher education sector has passionately lobbied for the retention of Erasmus+ for UK students – highlighting the incredible popularity, value and impact of the programme.

“Therefore, the UK’s withdrawal is deeply disappointing. 

“The University supports calls for the programme to remain open to students in Scotland, and we remain absolutely committed to strengthening our existing collaborations, and forming new relationships, with European partners post-Brexit.

“We look forward to further detail from the UK Government on their replacement student exchange programme, the Turing scheme, due to begin in September.”

Featured image credit: The National

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