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Swiss students shut out of EU exchange deal

Morven McLean · 27 Feb 2014, 11:51

Published: 27 Feb 2014 11:51 GMT+01:00

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The move means Swiss students will not be able to participate in the education programme for the next academic year.

The Swiss students association VSS/UNES expressed shock at the decision, according to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, saying it spelled “the end for now of the international dimension of university life”.

Erasmus is one of the mobility programmes which have allowedthousands of young Swiss to broaden their educational experience abroad in recent years and enabled young foreigners to come to Switzerland to study or train.

In 2013, mobility programmes opened the door to other European countries for over 7,000 young Swiss.

The EU employment commissioner confirmed the suspension of Switzerland’s participation in Erasmus+ on Wednesday.

Laszlo Andor said the move was not meant to sanction Switzerland following the referendum two weeks ago to tighten immigration.

Instead it was a logical consequence of Switzerland reneging on the free movement of persons accord with the EU.

The EU had warned that the referendum result could have consequences for Switzerland.

“We are definitely out of Erasmus projects for 2014,” an official at the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) told the Swiss news agency SDA.

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SERI did not exclude that Switzerland would be allowed back into the programme from 2015.

“We are trying to find an interim solution for students,” Gaétan Lagger of SERI told SDA.

The EU has approved a €14.7-billion budget for the Erasmus programme from 2014-2020, including exchanges for education, training, youth and sport.

Morven McLean (news@thelocal.ch)

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