BM71: Participation of Switzerland in Erasmus+
On February 9, 2014, the Swiss population voted to add a clause to the constitution which asked for the introduction of quotas for residency permits for foreign nationals. As a result, the federal council decided that they could not extend the agreement on free movement of people to Croatia. As a reaction to this the European Commission suspended all ongoing negotiations with Switzerland including Erasmus+ and Horizon2020. By the end of this year the Swiss parliament will most likely have passed legislation that implements the parts of the constitution accepted in 2014 that are in line with the agreement of free movement of people. The Swiss government will then have the possibility to formally extend free movement of people to Croatia. As the negotiations for Horizon2020 have already finished when they were suspended, the participation of Switzerland in Horizon2020 will automatically enter into force if the agreement of free movement of people is extended to Croatia by February 2017. For Erasmus+ the case is different, as the negotiations were still going on when they were suspended. In these negotiations, there has been a fundamental disagreement about the financial contribution Switzerland had to make for Erasmus+. ESU emphasizes the importance Erasmus+ has for student mobility and international cooperation in the area of education and youth policy. Therefore, ESU calls upon the Swiss government and the European Commission to make it a priority to include Switzerland as a full member in Erasmus+. Negotiations about the participation of Switzerland should start immediately after the bilateral treaty on free movement of people has been extended to Croatia. In order that the negotiation about the participation of Switzerland with Erasmus+ can be successful it is indispensable that Switzerland is ready to pay the contribution required to the budget of Erasmus+. Therefore, it is necessary that the Swiss parliament approves sufficient funding to finance the participation of Switzerland for the rest of the current period of Erasmus+.