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BREXIT

‘Devastating’: Anger and dismay after UK decides to pull out of EU’s Erasmus student scheme

British students will no longer be able to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected the chance to continue participating in the scheme.

'Devastating': Anger and dismay after UK decides to pull out of EU's Erasmus student scheme
Erasmus exchange students from all over Europe pose with a Bambi award in the Millenium category during the Bambi media prize ceremony on November 21, 2019. AFP

Speaking after the Brexit deal was announced the EU's negotiator Michel Barnier said: “I am simply expressing two regrets about this societal cooperation. 

“That the British government chose not to participate in the Erasmus exchange program.”

Barnier also expressed regret that the UK decided to end freedom of movement in another blow to the “social mobility” of young Britons.

Erasmus has been in operation since the late 1980s and has allowed British students to study at universities in the EU member states for set periods of time.

Tens of thousands have taken advantage of the scheme and the small financial grants it offers to help students study abroad.

British PM Boris Johnson defended the decision to end participation in Erasmus saying : “It was a tough decision” but said “Erasmus was extremely expensive.”

He said the government will replace Erasmus with “a UK scheme for students to go around the world, it will be called the Turing scheme… named after Alan Turing”

But on Twitter young people and those who have participated in Erasmus were dismayed.

“Erasmus changed my life. I'm devastated thousands of British students won't get to experience the joy of meeting people from different European cultures,” said one.

Sofia Lew is tweeted: “I'm heartbroken that so many opportunities will be lost due to the UK's decision to leave Erasmus. Not just student exchanges, but adult education, vocational training, youth work etc. A UK equivalent CANNOT deliver the same impact. This'll be devastating for social mobility.

Another on Twitter simply said: “What a blow for everyone with aspirations for a better world.”

 

 

Member comments

  1. “Erasmus is expensive” says the man who went to Eton. Disconnected caste etonians and their ilk arguably do more damage than good.

  2. Britain’s “global” alternative is only great for families who can afford to send their kids half way across the world – out of the price range of those of “normal” means.

    Boris did promise we weren’t going to leave Erasmus…

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BANKING

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

UK nationals living in Spain have begun to receive letters from their bank telling them that their accounts will be closed, in an apparent post-Brexit change. Have you been affected?

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

Customers of Barclays Bank who are living in Spain and other EU countries have been receiving letters telling them that their UK accounts will be closed by the end of the year. 

A number of readers of The Local’s network of news websites have contacted us to report receiving either letters or messages in their online banking telling them that their accounts would be closed because of their residency in Spain or in other countries in the EU.

A Barclays spokesperson told The Local: “As a ring fenced bank, our Barclays UK products are designed for customers within the UK.

“We will no longer be offering services to personal current account or savings customers (excluding ISAs) within the European Economic Area. We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and outline the next steps they need to take.”  

Customers are being given six months to make alternative arrangements. The changes affect all personal current accounts or savings accounts, but do not affect ISAs, loans or mortgages.

During the Brexit transition period Barclays closed Barclaycard accounts of customers in Spain, but did not indicate any changes to standard bank accounts.

READ MORE: 

Around the same time several other British high street banks began closing accounts of British customers who live in the EU, although with the exception of Barclaycard customers in Spain who were largely spared.

Many UK nationals who live in Spain maintain at least one UK bank account – in addition to a Spanish account – sometimes just for savings but others use their accounts regularly to receive income such as pensions or income from rental property or – for remote workers – to receive income for work done in the UK.

Not having a UK bank account can make financial transactions in the UK more complicated or incur extra banking fees.

READ MORE: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Spain?

Since Brexit, the UK banking sector no longer has access to the ‘passporting’ system which allows banks to operate in multiple EU countries without having to apply for a separate banking licence for each country.

And it seems that many UK high street banks are deciding that the extra paperwork is not worth the hassle and are withdrawing completely from certain EU markets. 

When British banks began withdrawing services from customers in the EU back in 2020, a UK government spokesman told British newspaper The Times that “the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a number of factors” so Brits in Spain probably shouldn’t hold their breath for any help from that direction.

READ ALSO: Premium Bond holders in Spain may have to cash in if no UK bank account

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