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European stakeholders urge for Swiss association to EU programmes

The higher education sector in Europe continues to express full support for Switzerland’s most rapid association to the Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe programmes.

Earlier this month, 34 European national university associations and national rectors’ conferences, united under the European University Association (EUA) umbrella, endorsed a statement calling for disconnecting negotiations on Swiss participation in EU programmes from the wider institutional and political negotiations. A similar call has been published by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), considering the interests of mobile students.

In its position paper published in June this year, ACA drew the attention of EU and Swiss policymakers to the damaging effects of the current blocking on the overall progress within the European Education Area and the European Research Area, particularly from an excellence perspective, and advocated for the immediate re-start of negotiations on both programmes.

Switzerland has set up transitional measures for both Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) announced it will directly fund researchers and innovators in Switzerland whose participation in approved collaborative and individual projects under Horizon Europe is not funded by the European Commission. Participation in short-term mobilities has been so far enabled via the Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP). While such safety net measures are most necessary for enabling collaboration between Swiss and EU higher education institutions at the very moment, they certainly pose additional barriers to transnational collaboration and highly complicate the implementation, with full association to both programmes remaining the best and mutually-beneficial solution.