EU row as Guy Verhofstadt ridicules UK over the Erasmus alternative

Guy Verhofstadt, a staunch supporter of Europe, has criticised Brexit Britain savagely for its substitute for the Erasmus programme.

The Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament was led by the former prime minister of Belgium, who is known for his harsh criticism of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the Brussels bloc.

Verhofstadt, 70, brought attention to a report claiming that the “problematic” funding timeframe for the Turing Scheme had pushed British university students to give up their ambitions to study or work overseas.

According to the report, which was released by IFF Research, young individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds might not have participated in the UK’s post-Brexit Erasmus+ programme.

Verhofstadt said: “Yet another post-Brexit ‘alternative’ turns out suboptimal…

“There is one alternative… especially for young Britons: Undo Brexit and Rejoin!”

However, the Belgian MEP is not the first Europhile in Brussels to suggest the UK could return to the bloc.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in November: “I keep telling my children: ‘You have to fix it. We goofed it up, you have to fix it’.”

The report highlighted how participants completing a year abroad often needed to leave in July or August, before being aware whether financial support would be available.

It said: “There was a general view that some delivery issues raised had a greater impact on participants from a disadvantaged background and may have created barriers to many participating.

“Providers said that the timing of when application outcomes were confirmed (ie after many participants would have had to already commit to their placement abroad) meant some who could not afford the upfront cost or the risk of funding not being available down the line dropped out.”

The Department for Education commissioned the report, which emphasised that numerous participants reported getting the monies either during their placement or following their return.

It clarified: “This was particularly challenging for participants who needed upfront costs to secure housing or for initial travel, which could be expensive.”

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