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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-04585: Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 8 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the ending of the Erasmus exchange programme would have in Scotland.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 16 November 2016

Scotland’s participation in Erasmus+, the EU’s 2014-2020 Education, Training, Youth and Sport Programme, is in line with our aims to promote Scotland as a learning nation and to increase student and staff mobility, and brings strong educational, employability, cultural and economic benefits. Erasmus+ also enables students from Scotland to access commercial loans on favourable terms in order to study postgraduate courses in other member states. Scotland’s preference would be to continue with full participation.

Erasmus+ 2014-2020 is delivered by the British Council with Ecorys under contract to the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with and on behalf of the four nations of the UK. The Scottish Government has received assurances that the EU Referendum result has no immediate effect on learners, staff or volunteers from Scotland currently abroad under the Erasmus+ scheme or anyone applying for 20160-17. Payments will be made in the usual way. The Scottish Government continues to seek assurances covering the medium and longer term.

The verdict from Scotland’s universities and from the UK’s research bodies could not be clearer – leaving the EU would have potentially devastating effects for Scotland’s higher education sector. The Scottish Government’s starting point is to protect our relationship with, and place in, the European Union. The Scottish Government will publish proposals over the coming weeks that would allow Scotland to stay in the single market and to preserve aspects of our relationship with the EU, even if the rest of the UK is intending to leave.