SNP and Inexperienced ministers will proceed pushing for post-Brexit Scottish entry to the Erasmus+ training programme, the Exterior Affairs Secretary has insisted.
Angus Robertson’s remarks come though European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen stated final yr that separate affiliation wouldn’t be doable following the UK Authorities’s choice to drag out.
However Mr Robertson informed MSPs on Tuesday: “In our Programme for Authorities we have dedicated to develop a Scottish training alternate programme to help the worldwide mobility of workers and learners, and work to re-secure Scotland’s entry to the Erasmus+ programme – and that’s precisely what we are going to do.”
Nonetheless, amid rising frustration over the gradual fee of progress, he declined to supply recent element on supply timescales for the alternative scheme. It comes after The Herald revealed there was no confirmed schedule for a session course of, regardless of the plan being set out in final yr’s Programme for Authorities.
READ MORE: SNP ministers accused of ‘shelving’ plans for Erasmus
Liam McArthur, Liberal Democrat MSP for the Orkney Islands, stated the scenario in Scotland in contrast poorly with that in Wales, the place ministers have unveiled a “Brexit-busting”, five-year worldwide alternate association backed with funding of as much as £65 million.
In the meantime, the Turing scheme, which was rolled out by Conservative ministers within the wake of Brexit, continues to be attacked for failing to help inward pupil placements and alternatives for tutorial workers.
Talking throughout a Holyrood debate on the SNP-led administration’s worldwide work, Mr Robertson stated intensive efforts have been ongoing to revive Scottish hyperlinks to EU training initiatives.
He informed MSPs: “The Scottish Authorities was vastly upset by the choice of the UK Authorities to not affiliate with Erasmus+, which at the moment prevents Scotland from collaborating absolutely in its personal proper after 2022/23.
“The Scottish Authorities recognises the significance of academic mobility and, because the UK Authorities choice, we’ve continued to have interaction in dialogue with the European Parliament and European Fee on how we are able to maximise our establishments’ entry to the EU programme.”
Nonetheless, Mr Robertson got here underneath sturdy strain from Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie, who requested why it was taking so lengthy to ship the choice Scottish scheme.
READ MORE: EU chief closes door on separate Scottish participation in Erasmus
He stated: “I’m simply flabbergasted on the Scottish Authorities. It made lofty claims that it was going to interchange the Erasmus scheme for Scotland, saying that the Turing scheme was insufficient as a result of it was solely a one-way scheme, fairly than a reciprocal one.
“A yr in the past, due to Kirsty Williams, who was the Welsh Liberal Democrat training minister on the time, the Welsh launched a reciprocal scheme value £65 million, which is healthier than the Turing scheme and works inside the UK context. Nonetheless, as has been revealed in The Herald at this time, we nonetheless don’t actually have a date for the session for Scotland’s alternative for the Erasmus scheme.”
He added: “We will have all the nice and lofty speeches that the minister made earlier on however, except we ship on these things, it means completely nothing in any respect.”
The UK Authorities has strongly defended Turing. A spokeswoman stated beforehand: “Scotland’s universities are world-leading establishments and we’re very happy the UK is ready to help them in a lot of methods, from facilitating visas for worldwide college students to substantial analysis funding.
“The UK Authorities’s Turing scheme is providing great international alternatives for Scottish college students. We’ll proceed to work with the Scottish Authorities and different companions as we proceed to help Scotland’s greater training sector.”
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