Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has accused the Government of “coldly throwing away opportunities for our young people” following its decision to abandon guarantees for the popular European academic exchange programme Erasmus+.
Conservative and DUP MPs rejected an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Wednesday 8 January which would have committed the UK to seeking to negotiate continuing full membership of the EU’s Erasmus+ education and youth programme, which provides an opportunity for thousands of UK students to study abroad in the EU as well as EU students to study in the UK.
Whilst spokespersons from the Government have said they are still open to negotiating continued access to the programme, the decision casts a large shadow over the future of the UK’s role in the educational exchange as there is no guarantee that the Government will negotiate for participation.
Mr Zeichner says: “This is another hugely disappointing decision from a Government that seems hell bent on taking us down an increasingly isolationist and self-destructive path. The Erasmus+ scheme provides an invaluable opportunity for educational and cultural exchange between ourselves and Europe that is a huge benefit to both our young people and the skillset of our country. Casting its future into doubt in this way is nonsensical, and just goes to show what little priority the Government is giving to the future and opportunities of our young people as we leave the EU.”