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Huw Edwards says Erasmus student exchange scheme ‘massively beneficial’ as UK pulls out

24 Dec 2020 2 minute read
Huw Edwards picture by Brian Minkoff-London Pixels (CC BY-SA 3.0).

BBC journalist and newsreader Huw Edwards has called the Erasmus exchange programme “massively beneficial” after Boris Johnson withdrew from it as part of the EU trade deal.

Speaking at a press conference after the deal was agreed, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “The British government decided not to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme.”

Boris Johnson later said that it was “extremely expensive scheme” and that the “UK exchequer lost out” as a result of it.

Huw Edwards, who graduated in French from University College, Cardiff, posted on Twitter a younger picture of himself in France and said that he hoped there would be a replacement for the scheme.

“A purely personal observation,” he said. “I know from experience how massively beneficial the Erasmus scheme has been to so many young people.

“I hope we find other ways of giving students the amazing cultural opportunities they might otherwise miss. Diolch.”

The Erasmus scheme gives financial support to students within the programme to study abroad for a set amount of time – either a semester or a year – in a participating country.

Students from the UK who wanted to study within Europe were given financial support from the EU, funded by participating states paying in.

Welshman Dr. Hywel Ceri Jones was one of the main driving forces within the EU executive when Erasmus first began to take shape in the 1970s and 1980s and is considered one of the architects of the scheme.

In 2017, 16,561 UK students participated in the scheme, while 31,727 EU nationals from other countries came to study in Britain under it.

A number of non-EU countries are members of the Erasmus scheme, including Iceland, Turkey, Norway, and Serbia.

Wales might be able to join the scheme itself if willing to pay into it.

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