The House of Lords European Union Home Affairs Sub-Committee – on which I sit – has just published a report “Brexit : the Erasmus and Horizon programmes”.
I do not believe that either of these programmes was uppermost in the minds of people when they voted in the 2016 referendum. Yet, if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, continuation in Erasmus and Horizon will be jeopardised. Our country and many of our young citizens will lose out.
Erasmus supports university student exchanges, work and vocational training placements, youth projects and opportunities for staff working at all levels of education to teach or train abroad. The value of the programme is acknowledged by the Government and every witness who gave evidence to the Sub-Committee Inquiry spoke in strong support.
Horizon is the EU’s flagship programme for research and innovation. The UK is the second biggest beneficiary of Horizon funding. As well as supporting UK research projects Horizon enables scientific partnerships with countries across Europe and beyond. This means access to large-scale international research facilities and joint infrastructure.
Even if a withdrawal agreement is achieved, the UK will be obliged to negotiate some form of associate status with our former partners to have any chance of achieving limited access to the ongoing Erasmus and Horizon programmes.
This is simply not a good outcome.