Brexit and European Programmes

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. The effect of UK withdrawal on the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes continues to emerge.

This post collates information we have received from the European Commission and the Irish and UK Governments. We will update this post with any additional information we receive.

Here are otther useful sources of information and advice:

January 2021:

The UK Government have confirmed that it will not participate in the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 or European Solidarity Corps 2021-2027 programmes.  This decision does not affect the UK’s participation in the 2014-2020 programmes. Projects that were funded during the 2014-2020 programme cycle may continue as planned for their full duration.

The Irish Government have announced it will “introduce a scheme to allow for the continued participation in Erasmus+ mobilities for eligible students of Higher Education institutions in Northern Ireland.”  Enquiries about this scheme should be directed to

October 2020:

The European Commission have affirmed in a letter to National Agency directors that the Withdrawal Agreement provides the basis for UK-based legal entities to be fully eligible to participate in and receive funding under the current 2014-2020 EU programmes, including Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, as if the UK were a member state, until the completion of these programmes. This is also stated on the How will Brexit impact the Erasmus+ programme? section of the European Commission website.

March 2020:

The UK National Agency Ecorys report that the UK government has published its negotiating mandate for discussions with the EU about the future relationship.

“The government remains open to considering participation in some elements of the next Erasmus+ programme, provided it is in the UK’s interest to do so. This does not include the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme. The government is considering a wide range of options with regards to the future of international education exchange, including a domestic alternative.

This does not affect the UK’s participation in the current (2014-2020) programmes. Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus+ and ESC programmes. This means that the projects successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive EU funding for the full duration of the project, including those where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

Organisations should continue to bid for funding under the current programmes.”

The full text is available at

February 2020:

The UK Withdrawal Agreement was ratified on 30 January 2020, meaning the UK have now withdrawn from the European Union.  The transition period will end on 31 December 2020.

The Withdrawal Agreement foresees that the UK will continue to participate in the current 2014-2020 EU programmes, including Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, until these programmes end. This means that UK beneficiaries can continue to take part in grants awarded under the current programmes until their end date, even if it is after 2020.

The possible participation of the UK in future programmes after 2020 will depend on the outcome of the overall negotiations between the EU and UK.

January 2020:

The European Commission have posted this update on Erasmus+ and the UK Withdrawal Agreement:

“The EU and the UK have agreed to postpone the date of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU until 1 February 2020, unless a Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before that date, in which case the UK will withdraw on the first day of the month following that ratification.

If by the time of the UK’s withdrawal, the Withdrawal Agreement is signed and ratified, then the UK can continue to take part in the current Erasmus+ programme until the close of the programme.”

The UK National Agency Ecorys have more details about these arrangements:

Ecorys have also issued a statement reiterating that the recent House of Commons vote on negotiating continuing full membership “does not end or prevent the UK from participating in Erasmus+ after leaving the EU”.

October 2019:

In October, the Department of Education and Skills released this information on Erasmus+ as part of a circular to schools and FE colleges:

“The EU’s Erasmus+ 2014-2020 programme provides funding for a range of international education and training projects, including student and staff mobility and exchanges, job shadowing, teaching assignments, and strategic partnerships between organisations.  The EU has decided that students on existing mobilities at the date of Brexit will be permitted to complete their exchange and continue to be funded to do so.

In the event of a No Deal exit, the programme will continue to operate fully for Ireland and the EU Member States, and schools’ participation in future Strategic Partnerships under this programme must be framed accordingly. The UK will be no longer be eligible to participate in the programme.

More detailed information is available from the EU Commission’s website at


On 19 March 2019, the European Council and Parliament adopted a Regulation to avoid the disruption of Erasmus+ learning mobility activities involving the United Kingdom in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal (“no-deal scenario”). Here are some key points from How will Brexit impact the Erasmus+ programme?

Erasmus+ learning mobility activities

Who is covered under this Regulation?

The Erasmus+ Contingency Regulation covers ‘learning mobility’ as defined in the Erasmus+ Regulation. This means:

  • the mobility of students in all cycles of higher education and of students, apprentices and pupils in vocational education and training
  • the mobility of young people in non-formal and informal learning activities and in volunteering activities
  • the mobility of staff in the field of education and training
  • the mobility of persons active in youth work or youth organisations and youth leaders.

What does this Regulation ensure?

The Regulation ensures that people who are abroad through an Erasmus+ funded learning mobility activity on the day the UK leaves the European Union will not see their mobility period interrupted. This applies for example to a French higher education student on an Erasmus+ mobility in London, but equally to a UK student in vocational training taking part in an Erasmus+ traineeship in Budapest.

For more information, visit the How will Brexit impact the Erasmus+ programme? page on the website.

May 2019:

The European Commission has reminded all National Agencies that: “…the United Kingdom remains a Member State until 31 October 2019, with all rights and obligations. … this also means that the United Kingdom continues to participate fully in the Erasmus+ programme and the Solidarity Corps. Furthermore, in case the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 31 October 2019, the United Kingdom will continue to be eligible under the Erasmus+ programme and the Solidarity Corps.

In case the United Kingdom withdraws from the Union without a withdrawal agreement, the Erasmus+ contingency Regulation establishes that Key Action 1 mobilities that are ongoing when the UK withdraws from the EU do not have to be interrupted, even in the no deal scenario.”

For more details you can check How will Brexit impact the Erasmus+ programme? on the website.

April 2019:

The UK Government updated its Brexit guidelines on 08 April, recommending that:  “…applications are submitted as normal for the upcoming deadlines for funding in respect of the 2019 Call for Proposals, for both Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps.” 

You can read the entire text of the update on the UK National Agency Brexit Update page.

The European Commission web page about Brexit and Erasmus+ includes the most frequent questions, factsheets and other useful links.

March 2019:

The Irish Government published this update in late March: Brexit and Erasmus+;  the EU preparations referred to are detailed in these European Commission resources:

February 2019:

Léargas reminds all potential applicants for upcoming Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps deadlines that Irish organisations will be able to participate fully in any partnerships and projects funded under these programmes in the coming years. The Republic of Ireland–as an EU member state–continues its full involvement as a Programme Country in Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps.

On 06 February, the UK Government issued an updated Technical Notice providing guidance to organisations and individuals on the UK’s anticipated participation in the current Erasmus+ (2014-2020) and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) (2018 -2020) programmes, after the UK leaves the EU. You can find out more on the UK National Agency Brexit Update page.

January 2019: On 30 January, the European Commission issued a press release on a “Final set of “no-deal” contingency measures for Erasmus+ students, social security coordination rules and the EU budget”

“Today’s measures would ensure that in the event of a “no-deal” scenario:

  • Young people from the EU and the UK who are participating in the Erasmus+ programme on 30 March 2019 can complete their stay without interruption;
  • EU Member State authorities will continue to take into account periods of insurance, (self) employment or residence in the United Kingdom before withdrawal, when calculating social security benefits, such as pensions;
  • UK beneficiaries of EU funding would continue to receive payments under their current contracts, provided that the United Kingdom continues to honour its financial obligations under the EU budget. This issue is separate from the financial settlement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

It is important to note that these measures will not – and cannot – mitigate the overall impact of a “no-deal” scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Today’s proposals are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the EU. They take into account discussions with Member States. The Commission will continue to support Member States in their preparedness work and has intensified its efforts, for example by organising visits to all EU27 capitals”

For more information, see the full European Commission Press Release.

On 29 January, the UK Government said the following:

In the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place, the government guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps bids. Successful bids are those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the National Agency and ratified by the European Commission. This includes projects and participants that are only informed of their success, or who sign a grant agreement, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The guarantee commits to underwrite funding for the entire lifetime of the projects.”

For more information see the UK National Agency Brexit Update page.

On 16 January, the UK Government said this:

“The UK Government’s policy is still to secure a deal with the EU. However, we will now accelerate existing preparations for no deal and will shortly issue guidance on the potential implications for the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes in this scenario.

We continue to recommend that projects that are currently contracted continue being delivered, and applications are submitted to the UK National Agency for the 2019 Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Call for Proposals as normal in the immediate term.”

The UK National Agency, Ecorys, updates its Brexit page  whenever it receives information from its government.

September 2018: The Government of Ireland work on preparing for Brexit is ongoing. The ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign provides information for all citizens in Ireland on how best to prepare for changes that may come about as a result of Brexit. The Ireland and Brexit website provides a comprehensive guide to preparations and negotiations, while social media accounts (@BrexitReadyIRL on Twitter and Facebook and #BrexitReady) provide up-to-date news and links.

August 2018: The UK Government has stated: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, funding is available from the government to underwrite all successful bids for UK applicants submitted to the Erasmus+ programme while we are still in the EU, where planned projects can continue.” For more details, see the full statement here.

January 2018: The UK Government has stated “…that the United Kingdom is committed to continuing full participation in the Erasmus+ Programme up until we leave the European Union. We will underwrite successful bids for Erasmus+ that are submitted while the UK is still a member state, even if they are not approved until after we leave, and/or payments continue beyond the point of exit.

For more information, visit the Brexit update page from Ecorys, the UK National Agency.

December 2017: Please note that the 2018 Call has a note on eligibility of British applicants. If you need more information, you can find the note on p.2 of the Official Call.

June 2016: We’ve had a number of questions recently about what the UK’s decision to leave the EU will mean for Erasmus+ projects with UK partners. At present our advice is that all projects and applications involving UK partners can continue as normal. This is based on information from the European Commission earlier this week:

“According to the Treaties which the United Kingdom has ratified, EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a Member. This therefore also applies to the projects financed through the Erasmus+ programme.”

Read the statement here.

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