Brexit update

Updated on 23 August 2018 - 12:19

This statement has been issued by UK Government in light of the announcement to extend the underwrite guarantee and publication of the Erasmus+ technical notice.

Brexit update

The UK Government has made clear that it values international exchanges and collaboration in education and training. The joint report on progress during phase 1 of negotiations between the UK and the EU states that ‘following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 until their closure’.

Erasmus+ is one such programme and under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement UK organisations’ eligibility to apply for Erasmus+ funds during this period will remain unchanged for the duration of projects under the current programme. On this basis, the UK Government encourages UK organisations to continue to bid for Erasmus+ funding.

Underwrite guarantee

The Government announced in August 2016 that it would underwrite the payment of awards for UK applicants for successful bids to EU funding. This covers all successful bids for Erasmus+ funding that are submitted before the UK exits the EU, including from the upcoming 2019 Call for Proposals, which will be published this October, where planned projects can continue.

In July 2018, the Government also announced an extension of this underwrite guarantee for certain EU programmes, including Erasmus+, covering funding applied for after the UK’s exit, provided that the terms under which UK organisations could be eligible for post-exit participation are agreed.

On 23 August 2018 the Government published a Technical Notice on UK participation in the Erasmus+ programme in a ‘no deal’ scenario, as part of its information to businesses and citizens about ‘no deal’ preparations.   

The Technical Notice states that a scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome. It is, however, the duty of responsible government to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until the outcome of negotiations is certain, and the Technical Notice sets out the steps the Government is taking. These include seeking to discuss and agree with the Commission that UK organisations would be able to continue to participate in projects in a ‘no deal’ scenario, as described in the Commission’s disclaimer text accompanying the Call for Proposals published in October 2017:

‘For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project.’

The Government underwrite guarantee would cover all successful bids for Erasmus+ funding that are submitted before the UK exits the EU, including from the upcoming 2019 Call for Proposals which will be published this October, where planned projects could continue in this way. If discussions with the Commission to secure UK organisations’ continued eligibility to participate in the programme post-exit are unsuccessful, the Government has indicated that it will engage with Member States and key institutions to seek to ensure UK participants can continue with their planned activity. The underwrite guarantee would also cover the grant payments to all UK organisations that are able to reach an organisation-to-organisation agreement with their EU partners for their projects to continue.

For projects that are unable to continue, the UK National Agency would provide advice to UK organisations so that they can support their participants. All eligible project costs incurred by the UK organisations would be covered by the Government’s underwrite guarantee.

For the extension of the Government underwrite guarantee, the Government is seeking to discuss and agree with the EU the terms under which UK organisations could be eligible to participate in the Erasmus+ programme from 29 March 2019 until the end of 2020.

Subject to the UK reaching agreement with the EU about continuing UK participation as explained above, the original and extended Government underwrite guarantees apply to funding allocated to UK organisations whether in applications submitted to Brussels (centralised) or to the UK National Agency (decentralised), and whether or not the UK is the lead partner.

Further information on the implications of the underwrite guarantee and subsequent extension can be found in the Technical Notice.

Future participation

The Government has welcomed the Commission proposal for the 2021-2027 successor scheme to Erasmus+, which was published in May 2018. The Government is considering the proposal carefully and will continue to participate in discussions while the UK remains an EU Member State.

The decision on future participation in Erasmus will be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations, but as stated in the UK’s White Paper on the future UK-EU relationship, ‘the UK is open to exploring participation in the successor scheme’ and has proposed a new UK-EU culture and education accord that ‘provides for UK participation in EU programmes’.

Keeping up to date with the latest information on Erasmus+ and Brexit 

We will continue to update this page with news and information related to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme. 

A Welsh translation of this statement (466 KB) is now available to download.