The Young Liberals, the youth and student wing of the Liberal Democrats, have launched a cross-party campaign for the UK to remain a member of the Erasmus+ scheme. The scheme allows students to study in participating universities around the EU.
Boris Johnson pledged that “there [was] no threat to the Erasmus scheme” on 15th January 2020. This would have allowed young people from across the UK, regardless of their background, to continue to access an international education. Former Erasmus+ participants claimed the scheme improved their employability, helped them access global opportunities, and developed them as citizens of a connected world.
The UK Government announced less than a year later that the UK would be leaving the Erasmus+ Programme. The youth organisations who have signed the statement believe that the proposed replacement to the Erasmus+ scheme - the Turing scheme- will be insufficient and unable to live up to Erasmus+.
Janey Little, Policy Officer of the Young Liberals, said: “This is a campaign which rises above party political differences. This is about fighting for our futures. We are standing together because we want young people across the UK to be able to access the wealth of opportunities in the global community through the Erasmus+ Programme.”
The Young Liberals co-authored a statement with their sister party in Northern Ireland, Alliance Youth, alongside the Young European Movement. They expressed their condemnation of the failure of the UK Government to ensure continued participation of the UK in Erasmus+. The Young Greens of England and Wales, Scottish Young Greens, Young Scots for Independence, SNP Students, and SDLP Youth joined as signatories of the statement. Peter Banks, International Officer of the Young Liberals, said: “The Tories and Labour continue to ignore students and educators whose rights under Erasmus+ were supposed to be guaranteed in the Brexit negotiations. This bold, cross-party campaign shows the resolve of young people from across the political spectrum and across the United Kingdom to put our futures first, and return to the Erasmus+ Programme.”