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BREXIT from an EU perspective

With the possibility of a no-deal Brexit still hovering over Europe (see the January 2019 edition of the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe) the European Commission has adopted a series of contingency measures (within its Brexit Preparedness plan) to “cushion the blow” in the area of Erasmus+, social security and EU budget, among others. In an extremely simplified way, the main possible scenarios for Erasmus+ are three: first, if the EU and the UK reach an exit agreement, the UK will continue to participate in Erasmus+ until 2020; second, if the withdrawal date will be postponed, the Erasmus+ will continue at least until that (new) date; and, third, in the event of a “hard Brexit”, the UK will no longer be considered as a Programme Country within the Erasmus+ programme from 29 March 2019 onwards.

The Commission’s contingency measures would act in this last instance, in order to ensure that students participating at that time in the programme can complete their study or traineeship period abroad. The Commission also produced a series of Q&As which clarify the objectives and content of the contingency measures. The measures are listed in two different draft proposals submitted by the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The first proposal, Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down provisions for the continuation of ongoing learning mobility activities under the Erasmus+ programme in the context of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("United Kingdom") from the European Union, would cover mobility activities that started before 29 March. The second proposal, Regulation on measures concerning the implementation and financing of the general budget of the Union in 2019 in relation to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union, would cover exchanges after 30 March. 

Additionally, the UK government released a technical notice on 29 January providing guidance for organisations and participants involved in Erasmus+ in case of a no deal. In parallel, the European University Association (EUA) together with Universities UK published a briefing on 18 February on How universities can prepare for a no-deal scenario, covering some practical information from tuition fees to legal status and residence permits.