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EU Committee Recommends Allowing British Students Back Into Free Movement Scheme

British Students (Credits: The Independent)

The European Economic and Social Committee, an advisory body to the EU Commission, has urged leaders to facilitate unrestricted travel for young people between the UK and EU, seeking to revive opportunities for individuals under 30 post-Brexit.

After Brexit, the UK withdrew from the Erasmus program, which had allowed 200,000 UK nationals to pursue studies at leading European universities without additional expenses. Also, new Brexit regulations have made it challenging for individuals to move freely between the EU and the UK for work, study, and travel due to revised border rules.

Today’s resolution marks a crucial development as it calls upon the European Commission to engage with the UK government regarding the potential negotiation of a comprehensive reciprocal youth mobility partnership.

British University Students (Credits: Cambridge News)

Maurizio Cuttin, the British Youth Council’s elected UK Young Ambassador to the European Youth Forum and advisor for the EESC’s opinion report, highlighted the devastating impact of the UK’s exit from the Erasmus scheme on young people’s educational and exchange opportunities across the Channel.

He emphasized that the collapse of the British Youth Council, partly attributed to the funding gap left by the UK’s departure from the Erasmus+ scheme, underscores the urgent need for the UK government to provide avenues for young people to unlock brighter and more prosperous futures.

Supporting Erasmus+ is deemed crucial for developing students, apprentices, and young volunteers. The British Youth Council, initially established by the Foreign Office in 1948 and later becoming an independent charity in 1963, aimed to empower young people and advocate for their interests at various levels – locally, nationally, across Europe, and internationally.

However, the closure of the Youth Council in March after 75 years of service, citing ongoing financial challenges leading to insolvency, highlighted the ramifications of the UK’s withdrawal from key European programs.

Maurizio Cuttin, UK Young Ambassador to the European Youth Forum (Credits:

Today’s resolution is a positive development for individuals under 30 across the UK who missed out on opportunities for work and study in the EU before Brexit. The committee’s stance aligns with calls from Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, who has pledged to introduce a new version of the EU’s Erasmus scheme for young people studying in London as part of his re-election campaign.

Ex-Tory Cabinet Member And Prominent Brexiteer George Eustice Also Backed Freedom Of Movement

Mr. Khan’s proposal includes providing grants and support for students to study and gain work experience not just in the UK but also in other major global cities, with reciprocal arrangements for overseas students in London.

He emphasized the damage caused by the government’s hard Brexit, particularly affecting young people, and stressed the economic, cultural, and social benefits of a youth mobility scheme.

Former Tory cabinet minister and leading Brexiteer George Eustice also supported freedom of movement for young people, urging the government to negotiate bilaterally with the EU.

He proposed offering young Europeans under 35 the right to two-year work visas in Britain, emphasizing the importance of reciprocal agreements in the post-Brexit reconciliation with the EU.

Campaign group Best for Britain conducted a poll indicating strong public support for negotiating a reciprocal youth mobility scheme with the EU and rejoining Erasmus.

Responding to today’s draft opinion, Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain, emphasized the need for the UK Government to address the damage caused by Brexit and embrace initiatives like a reciprocal EU-UK Youth Mobility Scheme and rejoining Erasmus to benefit British students.

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