The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is calling on the European Commission to re-associate Switzerland with the Erasmus+ programme. Switzerland’s involvement in the programme has been stopped since 2014, and consultations between the EU and Switzerland to reach a new agreement are ongoing. ESN joins the calls made by our member organisation ESN Switzerland, and our partners of the European Students’ Union and their Swiss member VSS-UNES-USU.
ESN reiterates its call for reassociation made in 2021, and welcomes the Draft Opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) of the European Parliament which states that “the EU should invite all interested neighbouring and like-minded countries, including Switzerland, to associate to the Erasmus+ programme”.
In that spirit, ESN believes that the re-association would greatly facilitate higher education’s internationalisation and cross-cultural understanding. Therefore, ESN stands in agreement with the following statements of CULT:
- Believes that the EU should invite all interested neighbouring and like-minded countries, including Switzerland, to associate with the Erasmus+ programme and thus contribute to European education systems and the strengthening of the European Education Area as a whole;
- Notes that the participation of teachers and young people in EU programmes for education, training, youth and sport enables a strong and sustainable understanding between Switzerland and the EU
In addition, ESN supports the press release made by ESN Switzerland, the European Students’ Union, and their Swiss member VSS-UNES-USU to include Switzerland in the Erasmus+ programme. Since 2014 Switzerland's absence from Erasmus+ hinders young people from accessing further mobility opportunities.
ESN believes that the European Commission should prioritise the negotiation of a fair and comprehensive agreement. This included ensuring that the necessary funding and administrative frameworks are in place and informing students and staff about the opportunities available to them. Moreover, it’s important to mention the necessity of keeping the programme accessible and inclusive to all students with fewer opportunities.
Taking this into consideration, the Erasmus Student Network expresses its support towards the re-association of Switzerland in the Erasmus+ programme and asks Swiss and European authorities the following:
- Calls upon the European Commission to associate willing non-EU countries to the Erasmus+ programme;
- Urges the Swiss government and the European Commission to re-launch the negotiations and find practical solutions to include Switzerland in the Erasmus+ programme;
- Urges the Swiss government and the European Commission to treat the institutional issues and the Erasmus+ mobility programme separately.