The government has extended an interim solution for Swiss participation in the European mobility and cooperation programmes for students, Erasmus+, by one year. This means Switzerland will continue to bear the cost and organisational burden of participating on the scheme.
The education ministry said the decision, announced on Wednesday, would “allow Swiss students, apprentices and education professionals at all educational levels” to continue to benefit from the European Union’s programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport until the end of 2017.
The interim solution for Erasmus+ became necessary after Brussels suspended negotiations with Switzerland, in response to Swiss voters approving in 2014 a proposal to re-introduce immigration quotas for EU citizens.
The Swiss government says it is seeking a long-term deal with the EU on future Swiss participation in exchange and cooperation projects.
Last year, a record number of nearly 11,000 requests for individual projects from Switzerland were granted – an increase of 12% on 2015.
The controversial anti-immigration initiative also affects cooperation between Switzerland and the EU on a prestigious research programme, Horizon 2020, and on the promotion of film productions.
Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch