EU ends Welsh and Scottish hopes of rejoining Erasmus scheme

University students in attire

The EU Commission has shot down suggestions that Wales and Scotland could rejoin the Erasmus exchange programme - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The European Commission has appeared to have ended early Welsh and Scottish hopes of rejoining the Erasmus scheme.

An EU Commission spokesperson told reporters that because Scotland and Wales were not independent countries but parts of the UK, that they would not be able to join the programme.

Asked if the Commission had received a letter from MEPs about Scotland and Wales rejoining, the spokesperson said: "I can confirm that Commissioner Gabriella has received the letter you mentioned, and this letter is being analysed now by the services and we will reply in due course.

"What I could mention as well is, in the process of the negotiation the UK decided unfortunately not to join the Erasmus program after their exit from the union.

"And in general based on the Erasmus regulations, only countries can join the program."

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Last month the Welsh and Scottish governments issued a statement on the Erasmus+ student exchange scheme saying they will jointly explore how they can participate in the EU scheme in the future.

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams and her counterpart in Scotland, the SNP's Richard Lochhead, said No 10's decision to pull out of the programme would reduce opportunities for students and cut support for the most deprived communities.

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The ministers also called the UK's replacement scheme, the Turing Scheme, "inadequate" and a "lesser imitation of the real thing" that "overrides the devolved nature of education".

A total of 145 MEPs that wrote to Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president in Brussels, and Mariya Gabriel, the commissioner for education to ask if there was a way for Wales and Scotland to be allowed on the scheme.

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