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The interim solution 2014-2016 for Switzerland’s participation in Erasmus + has officially been extended by one year. The decision of the Swiss Federal Council, taken on 7 September, to carry forward an indirect participation in Europe’s mobility programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport now guarantees Swiss students, universities and the higher education community to continue to build mutual collaborations and reap benefits of European level mobilities for another year.
The prolongation of the interim solution follows pending uncertainties of the country’s re-association with Erasmus +, that were triggered by the 2014 popular vote against mass immigration. These developments lead to the suspension of negotiations for participation in Erasmus+ and resulted in Switzerland’s status of third or partner country - with an entitlement to partake in a reduced number of activities (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, October 2014) .
While the Federal Council elaborates a proposal that will guide European-Swiss mobility strategy in the years to come, the renewal of the interim solution (SEMP) up to 2017 provides space for solidifying the countries long term plans on international mobility, to come into effect from 2018 onwards. Till then outgoing and incoming students and staff are secured to receive grants in the framework of the Swiss funding scheme (Swiss-European mobility programme - SEMP).
With the UK looking to find a post Brexit strategy for guiding its involvement and participation levels in European mobility and exchange – one might ask if the UK will be looking to the Swiss model in navigating Erasmus+ commitments outside of life in the Union?
The mandate for implementing national, international and mobility programs on behalf on the Confederation and Cantons will be transferred to the Swiss Foundation for the Promotion of Exchange and Mobility (SFAM) from January 2016, previously held by the ch Foundation for Federal cooperation.Swiss Federal Council – press release