• Switzerland's news in English
Record numbers sign up for Swiss Erasmus replacement
File photo: Francisco Osorio

Record numbers sign up for Swiss Erasmus replacement

The Local · 30 Aug 2016, 11:03

Published: 30 Aug 2016 11:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Switzerland has previously participated in Erasmus, which was set up in the 1980s to facilitate student exchange between European countries.

But following the country’s anti-immigration referendum in 2014, which approved the principle of quotas on immigration, the EU suspended Switzerland’s membership of Erasmus+ (the scheme's 2014-2020 incarnation), saying the country’s stance was no longer compatible with the programme, which depends on the principle of free movement of people.

Later that year Switzerland announced an interim solution allowing it to offer student exchange as an Erasmus+ ‘partner country’ rather than a full member, by arranging a series of bilateral agreements with individual European universities under the new Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP) banner.

As it no longer receives funding from Brussels, Switzerland must fund the scheme itself, supporting both Swiss students who wish to study in another country and foreign students who want to come to Switzerland – a requirement if Switzerland wants its own students to be able to study elsewhere.

In 2016 the federal government allocated 25.1 million  francs ($25.6 million) to the task, funding a record 10,781 Swiss students and foreigners on study and vocational training placements, said Foundation ch, which is currently charged with running the SEMP scheme in Switzerland.

That’s a 12 percent increase on last year’s 9,650 students, funded by a budget of 23.9 million francs.

8,650 of this year’s exchanges are at tertiary level, up from 7,874 in 2015, an increase “principally explained by a more generous budget this year,” said the foundation.

Among 2016’s cohort, 4,789 Swiss students travelled to higher education institutions elsewhere and 3,861 came to Switzerland.

The success of Switzerland’s new study abroad arrangements will be of interest to Britain, whose future in Erasmus has also been thrown into question since it voted to leave the EU in June.

Story continues below…

As for Switzerland, it  has until February 2017 to find a way of implementing quotas on immigration without upsetting its relationship with the EU.

Should a bilateral solution be found that satisfies both parties, it’s possible that Switzerland’s membership of Erasmus+ may be reinstated.

A newly established Swiss government body, the Swiss Foundation for the Promotion of Exchange and Mobility (SFAM) will take over running SEMP from January 1st 2017.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available