Zovko: the UK leaving Erasmus+ is a loss for the exchange of culture and knowledge
Brussels, 5 February 2021
The European Parliament is currently scrutinizing the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement that was reached on 24 December last year. In the lead committees on foreign affairs and international trade, Members shared their views and concerns in the preparation of the Parliament’s recommendation for consent.
Vice Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Željana Zovko said she regrets the lack of preparedness from the British side to include a clause on the cooperation on foreign policy issues. “A key of our future relations with the UK is a foreign policy alignment; and the earlier we start working on it the better.” she said.
According to Zovko, the British departure from a common foreign policy has implications for our own European strategies. She stated that although the UK will leave missions such as Althea, they will remain visible in our neighbourhood. “British are good at diplomacy and while they might spread the message that it is okay to leave the European Union, we need to convince the Western Balkan countries to proceed on their Enlargement agenda.”
Another unfortunate development that Zovko highlighted in her statement is the UK’s departure from Erasmus+. As mentioned in the CULT opinion, the decision to leave this programme is a significant loss for the exchange of culture and knowledge. Zovko welcomes that students from Northern Ireland can still benefit from the Irish financial solidarity. But also Scotland and Wales stressed their interest to stay in the program. “I sincerely support the idea to offer a hand to those still willing to remain, as I was one of the beneficiaries of Erasmus when I was a student in London and know what benefits that exchange had on my British colleagues when they returned from the EU.” Zovko concluded.