40,000 Signatures in Petition for UK to Rejoin Erasmus+ Delivered to Downing Street

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In a significant display of public sentiment, the European Movement UK, in collaboration with the Young European Movement, has successfully delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street, amassing over 40,000 signatures. The petition calls for the UK government to reconsider its stance and restore the nation's participation in the Erasmus+ programme, highlighting the widespread concern over the educational and cultural losses following Britain's exit from the scheme.

The Embrace Erasmus+ campaign has seen an impressive cross-party support, with notable figures such as Sadiq Khan, Sir Vince Cable, Caroline Lucas MP, and Alyn Smith MP, all advocating for the UK's return to the programme. Their collective stance underscores the programme's significance in fostering educational and cultural exchange across Europe.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, expressed his concern over the detrimental effects of the government's hard Brexit, which has impacted the city's world-class educational institutions. "We have seen the damage done...including to our world-class educational institutions with students from across Europe no longer able to choose London to study abroad and vice versa," Khan remarked, emphasising his support for the campaign.

Sir Vince Cable, the former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, reflected on the 2016 referendum, noting that the desire to preserve Erasmus+ was unanimous, transcending even the staunchest Eurosceptic opposition. He lamented the loss to students, universities, and the nation as a whole, stating, "Our students lose out, our universities lose out and we as a nation are all the poorer for it.”

Echoing these sentiments, Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, highlighted the unfair burden placed on young people due to Brexit. She criticised the decision to withdraw from Erasmus+ as "especially cruel," arguing that it deprived young Britons of a "brilliant opportunity."

The delivery of the petition represents a critical step in the campaign to re-engage the UK with the Erasmus+ programme. It signals a robust public and political will to bridge the educational divide created by Brexit and restore opportunities for cultural and educational exchange that benefit both the UK and its European counterparts.