'Devastating': Anger and dismay after UK decides to pull out of EU's Erasmus student scheme
British students will no longer be able to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected the chance to continue participating in the scheme.
Speaking after the Brexit deal was announced the EU's negotiator Michel Barnier said: "I am simply expressing two regrets about this societal cooperation.
"That the British government chose not to participate in the Erasmus exchange program."
Barnier also expressed regret that the UK decided to end freedom of movement in another blow to the "social mobility" of young Britons.
Erasmus has been in operation since the late 1980s and has allowed British students to study at universities in the EU member states for set periods of time.
Tens of thousands have taken advantage of the scheme and the small financial grants it offers to help students study abroad.
British PM Boris Johnson defended the decision to end participation in Erasmus saying : "It was a tough decision" but said "Erasmus was extremely expensive."
“On Erasmus, it was a tough decision”— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 24, 2020
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government will replace Erasmus with “a UK scheme for students to go around the world, it will be called the Turing scheme... named after Alan Turing”https://t.co/athZpzGlEp pic.twitter.com/V0FQOzLzfh
He said the government will replace Erasmus with “a UK scheme for students to go around the world, it will be called the Turing scheme... named after Alan Turing”
Absooutely criminal that we can no longer take part in the Erasmus programme. Young people haveen utterly robbed .— Simon Skidmore (@SimonSkidmore1) December 24, 2020
But on Twitter young people and those who have participated in Erasmus were dismayed.
"Erasmus changed my life. I'm devastated thousands of British students won't get to experience the joy of meeting people from different European cultures," said one.
Very sad to hear that the @UKGovernmentEng has chosen to withdraw from the #Erasmus scheme, not least because assurances were given that this wouldn’t happen.— Beverley Ryan (@beverley_ryan) December 24, 2020
What changed, @BorisJohnson? pic.twitter.com/Rvu1PNz0W2
Sofia Lew is tweeted: "I'm heartbroken that so many opportunities will be lost due to the UK's decision to leave Erasmus. Not just student exchanges, but adult education, vocational training, youth work etc. A UK equivalent CANNOT deliver the same impact. This'll be devastating for social mobility.
I hope young British people remember this tragic & spiteful decision & demand to rejoin soon.— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) December 24, 2020
Meanwhile, I recall my letter to @Vonderleyen to unilaterally allow British students to participate. We will stand for this during the ratification process in Parliament ! https://t.co/Xdd6qGzVTu
Another on Twitter simply said: "What a blow for everyone with aspirations for a better world."