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Switzerland's association to the new generation of the Erasmus+ programme is strongly advocated by key stakeholders. Swiss parliament bodies such as the Foreign Affairs Committees and the Science, Education and Culture Committees as well as the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education call on the Federal Council to immediately commence negotiations for Switzerland’s full association to Erasmus+. This appeal is equally coming from swissuniversities and the ETH Board on behalf of higher education institutions and from 13 Swiss professional associations.
swissuniversities, the Swiss Rectors' Conference, and ACA’s member, has taken the launch of the new Erasmus+ 2021-27 programme generation as an opportunity to renew its statement that Switzerland should to be re-associated as soon as possible: “swissuniversities once again calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations with the European Commission. Full association to the Erasmus+ programme is a central element for future cooperation in the European Higher Education Area and cannot be adequately replaced with a Swiss alternative solution”.
The ETH Board also shows strong support for a full association to Erasmus+: “The ETH Board firmly believes that Switzerland should once again be a full participant in Erasmus+. […] The Swiss universities rely on these networks in order to continue improving the quality and attractiveness of their educational offerings and position themselves successfully at international level”.
In addition to these key stakeholders of higher education, players from other sectors have recognised the benefits and opportunities of Erasmus+ as well. The Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education, a crucial player for school education, and 13 Swiss professional associations both advocate for a Swiss full association. The conference's commitment is particularly important because of Switzerland's federalist system in which education is a matter of cantonal competence.
All these stakeholders have parliamentary backing from the Committees for Foreign Affairs and Science, Education and Culture. Both bodies have recurrently emphasised the importance of Swiss participation in the European programme.
The commitment for Erasmus+ comes along with the commitment for Horizon Europe. In December 2020, the Swiss parliament secured funding for a Swiss association to the EU’s research programme. Funds have also been reserved for Erasmus+ in the framework of the next financial planning.
Currently, the signs are positive that Switzerland will engage in close relationships with Europe in research and education!