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The Federal Council of Switzerland has informed the Parliament, with the dispatch “Promotion of international mobility in education and training for 2018-2020”, that Switzerland will not be re-joining Erasmus+. Switzerland’s status thus remains unchanged during this generation of the programme (2014-2020). The Swiss Federal Council will address the question of renewed association to the follow-up programme of Erasmus+ for the new programme period starting in 2021, and is continuing discussions with the European Commission to this effect. In order to ensure the continuity of activities with the Erasmus+ programme countries during 2017-2020, the Swiss Federal Council proposed to continue the Swiss interim solution (SEMP) for Erasmus+, that is supported by Swiss funding, and force since the 2014 adoption of the initiative on mass immigration. Both parties – the European Commission and Swiss Government- came to a consensus that Switzerland’s association would be more effective in the new programme generation, rather than the remaining short interval of two years left in the current programme.
This means for European Higher education institutions, that Swiss institutions may continue to participate in the status of ‘partner country’ where outgoing and incoming ‘learning mobility for individuals’ will be covered by the Swiss funding . Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices (KA2) projects can include Swiss partners in two forms: either as full partners (funded through Erasmus+ if the value added of the Swiss partner is demonstrated convincingly) or as associated partner (funded through the Swiss interim solution). For the Support for policy reform (KA3), it is expected that collaboration with Swiss institutions will be possible as associated partners, who bring their own financial means (via Swiss interim solution for Erasmus+ or other own funding).
In a final effort to counter downgraded opportunities in European mobility and partnering, rectors of the Swiss HEI’s, this March, published a statement and appeared thereafter in a parliamentary hearing, urging authorities to immediately resume negotiations with the European Commission - but the claim for a full association to Erasmus+ may only be answered now for the next programme generation.
Federal Council dispatch to Parliament “Promotion of international mobility in education and training for 2018-2020” – Press release (only in German)
Swiss National Agency for Exchange and mobility (Movetia) – Press release
‘Swiss-European mobility scheme extended, another year of exchange’ (ACA Newsletter, Education Europe, September 2016)