Thursday

17th Jan 2019

Focus

EU students and academics could desert UK

  • The UK government has refused to guarantee that EU students' status will remain unchanged next year. (Photo: Jirka Matousek)

Brexit negotiators must ensure that researchers and students can move freely between Germany and the UK or risk endangering decades of successful cooperation, a German academic body has warned.

Margret Wintermantel, president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), wrote in the UK daily the Guardian that students and staff faced huge uncertainties as a result of the 23 June vote for Britain to leave the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

For students, the possible demise of the Erasmus exchange programme was a “catastrophe”, she wrote. Also, negotiators must ensure that German students continue to be eligible to pay local fees - much lower than the costs for non-EU foreign students.

Some 14,000 German students are currently enrolled at British universities.

For academic staff, the Brexit vote has caused “painful” uncertainty as to whether they will even be able to get residence permits.

“Some top academics are not accepting posts in British universities as they do not know the conditions under which they will be able to work here in the future,” she wrote.

More than 5,000 Germans work in British universities out of a total of roughly 32,000 EU-national staff - 15 percent of the total number of academic staff in the UK.

She promised that her organisation, which represents 239 institutions and 105 student bodies, would continue to campaign for “continuity, expansion and openness of academic exchange”.

EU franchises

Her comments echo warnings from UK institutions over the consequences of Brexit.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of industry body Universities UK, recently called for “'swift and positive action” to reassure EU students that they would be eligible to pay local fees in the coming years.

Warnings over the future of research funding have abounded since the referendum.

A group of institutions issued a joint statement in July urging the government to safeguard research and collaboration with the EU.

Their statement highlighted that the UK had received €6.9 billion in EU research grants between 2007 and 2013, and that most overseas collaborations undertaken by British academics were with EU colleagues.

British universities have already begun to explore possibilities including setting up campuses in the EU as a sort of franchising – a strategy some already follow in India, China and elsewhere.

In a recent speech at Nottingham Trent University, UK universities minister Jo Johnson said EU students starting studies this autumn would remain eligible for local fees and they would be able to use the UK student loans system.

And he said the UK Treasury would underwrite all EU research funding awarded while the UK remained a member of the bloc, though uncertainty remains over what kind of funding will be available after Brexit.

But he conceded that he could provide no further clarity for academic staff from the EU, nor could he give any guarantees for students planning to come to the UK next year.

“These issues are inevitably closely linked to the wider process of exiting the and the sequencing is important to get right,” he said.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

University rankings reveal two-speed Europe

British, German and Dutch institutions do very well in the latest university rankings, with Oxford named the world's best. But the French and much of the rest of the EU are lagging behind.

News in Brief

  1. Another referendum 'would take a year', Downing St says
  2. 82-year old Berlusconi to run in EU elections
  3. EU parliament votes to triple funds for democracy promotion
  4. EU parliament backs linking budget payments to rule of law
  5. Verhofstadt voted for Draghi amendment 'by mistake'
  6. 'Plan B' Brexit vote in UK parliament set for 29 January
  7. Verhofstadt wanted Draghi out of G30 group
  8. Putin heads to Serbia amid warnings against West

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Brexit delay 'reasonable', as May tries cross-party talks
  2. MEPs allow Draghi's membership of secretive bank group
  3. EU parliament backs Morocco deal despite row
  4. Barnier open to 'future relations' talks if UK red lines shift
  5. German spies to monitor far-right AfD party
  6. On Morocco, will the EU ignore its own court?
  7. UK parliament rejects May's Brexit deal in historic defeat
  8. EU suggests majority vote on digital tax by 2025

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us