Door Linde de Nie op 28 maart 2014

Students victim of Swiss isolation

Recently it was announced that the EU negotiations on the Swiss participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ had stopped. Reason for the closure of negotiations was the result of a referendum in which a majority of the Swiss population indicated they are in favour of a quota on EU-immigrants.

According to the European Commission, the quota goes against the free movement of persons. The free movement of people is a core value within the European market, no exceptions should be granted. A core value we support. This week, Martin Schultz, President of the European Parliament, also reacted on this topic, stating: “I have absolutely no understanding for the suspension of Swiss students from Erasmus+”.

The group hit hardest by the outcome of the referendum is not the group that was in favour of the quota. That’s harsh. The measures taken implicate that Dutch students are no longer able to go to Switzerland with an Erasmus scholarship and vice versa, while Swiss students and (young) researchers voted with a large majority against the quota.

In our opinion, the best option is that Switzerland itself will put forward a budget, so European and Swiss students, despite the referendum and the decision of the EU, will be able to have a valuable and crucial exchange of knowledge and experience.

Ruud Nauts is chairman of the Dutch National Students’ Association and Sebastiaan den Bak is Policy Officer at Neth -ER and CDA-candidate for the European Parliament