The European Commission has rejected the idea of an association of individual regions such as Scotland or Wales to Erasmus+. In Switzerland, on the other hand, the universities are calling for the negotiations to be reopened.

In January, 145 MEPs had sent an open letter to the EU Commission asking to find a solution for the re-admission of Scotland and Wales to the Erasmus+ programme. Both regions had criticised the decision of central government in London to withdraw from the programme. However, EU Commission President von der Leyen has now rejected the idea in her reply to MEPs. Scotland and Wales will only be able to rejoin the student exchange programme if the entire United Kingdom is readmitted. According to the EU Commission’s assessment, an association with Erasmus+ is fundamentally ruled out for only one region of a state. At the same time, the EU Commission is willing to negotiate should the United Kingdom reconsider its position on Erasmus+.

In Switzerland, on the other hand, the Swiss Rectors’ Conference, Swissuniversities, has taken the launch of the new Erasmus+ programme generation 2021-2027 as an opportunity to renew its call for the resumption of negotiations with the EU Commission for Switzerland’s association to Erasmus+. In its statement, it refers to the plea already published in March 2017, which outlines the high importance of full association with Erasmus+ for Swiss higher education institutions with regard to Switzerland’s future integration into the European education area. In addition, scenarios are presented on how the previous cooperation with the European higher education landscape could be hampered by non-association. According to Swissuniversities, the Swiss alternative solution (2018-2020) with the Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP) does not offer sufficient opportunities for participation and cannot be a replacement by Erasmus+.

Since 2014, Switzerland is no longer a Programme Country in Erasmus+, but has the status of a Partner Country as a third country. Currently, a possible association of Switzerland to the Erasmus+ programme generation 2021-2027 is being discussed.

A number of other countries, such as the EFTA countries Norway, Iceland and others, have been associated to the Erasmus+ programme so far. A new inclusion of this association status is also expected for the new Erasmus+ programme generation.