Sabato, 18 Maggio 2024
The divorce / Regno Unito

UK bid farewell to Erasmus as "young people don't speak foreign languages well enough"

After Brexit, London was invited to remain in the exchange programme for young Europeans, but the government considers it a waste of taxpayers' money: "We are not able to take advantage of the opportunity"

Another divorce for the United Kingdom and the European Union. After Brexit, the UK has definitively exited the European exchange program Erasmus+, in which London was invited to stay despite no longer being part of the bloc. The reason is claimed to reside in the excessively high investments costs opposed to a reduced number of young Brits taking advantage of the exchange opportunities due to a lack of foreign language knowledge. "There's always been an imbalance between our inability to speak languages very well and therefore to take advantage of the outward mobility opportunities, and people wanting to come to the UK", reportedly justified diplomat Nick Leake, who represented the British government's position during a Commission's meeting in Brussels.

According to Politico, Leake said that, to participate in the programme, the UK would have to "pay €2 billion more than we would have received over the course of a 7-year programme," which means about €300 million in losses every year. " The interests of the UK taxpayer is why we decided not to participate in Erasmus+," he added. But the country's youth do not seem happy with this decision and are calling for a reconsideration. The group of youth associations European Youth Forum and the British Youth Council have defined the move a "devastating loss of exchange and educational opportunities for young people on both sides of the Channel."

At a meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an EU advisory body drawn from civil society organizations across the bloc, where Leake was representing the British government, delegates approved a recommendation calling for the European Commission to “strengthen negotiations with the U.K. government for the full reintegration of the U.K. into Erasmus+.” The report was unanimously approved with 77 votes in favour, none against, and only one abstention.

After leaving Erasmus the UK set up its own study abroad scheme, called Turing. A recent government commissioned analysis found the replacement scheme had failed to meet its targets, and counted only 20,000 participants instead of the expected 35,000 in the academic year 2021/22. Even London's mayor Sadiq Khan, a member of the Labour Party, has spoken out in favour of the Erasmus+ programme. If the party were to win the upcoming elections, expected by the end of the year, the government's direction could change, allowing young Brits to study and travel abroad in the continent. 

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UK bid farewell to Erasmus as "young people don't speak foreign languages well enough"

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