Ireland to fund Erasmus scheme for Northern Irish students

edited December 2020 in Other Political Debate

The Irish government will fund Erasmus+ grants for Northern Irish students so they can continue to participate in Europe’s flagship student exchange program after the United Kingdom pulls out of the scheme.

Dublin agreed “to extend the benefits of Erasmus+ to students in Northern Ireland even after Brexit,” the country’s Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris told broadcaster RTÉ late on Saturday, adding that this was “a very practical example of us wanting to continue to collaborate with Northern Ireland post-Brexit.”

Harris said it was a “permanent commitment” that would last as long as students wanted to make use of it. “The cost is relatively low … But it’s not a cost, it’s an investment,” he said, adding the estimated cost would be around €2 million per year.

The Erasmus+ scheme funds fees and costs for university students to spend part of their program in another EU or associated country. Students from Northern Ireland will need to temporarily register with Irish higher education institutions to take part in the scheme, RTÉ reported.

The move by the Irish government came after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that his country would no longer participate in the popular program from 2021, following the end of the Brexit transition period.

Johnson told reporters it was a “tough decision” but that the scheme was “extremely expensive” and that “our arrangements mean the U.K. exchequer more or less loses out on the deal.” The U.K. will instead launch a domestic replacement program called the Turing scheme, he said.

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