EUA urges EU and UK to solve Brexit research and education issues now
The European University Association (EUA) calls on the Brexit negotiating parties to solve issues arising from Brexit in the field of research and education as soon as possible. In an editorial published in The Parliament Magazine on 3 May 2018, Paul Boyle (EUA Vice-President) and Rolf Tarrach (EUA President) argue that research and education should be among the easier elements of the Brexit negotiations, as both the EU and the UK have been positive about preserving ties in this field since the beginning of the negotiations, given that both parties benefit immensely from cooperation.
However, the EUA authors stress that it is important that the preparations for such collaboration begin immediately. European leaders have agreed to extend the UK’s de facto EU membership, including participation in EU higher education and research programmes, until the end of 2020, but the transition period is still very short, and the approach that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” puts science and innovation in both the EU and UK at what they regard as an unnecessary risk. They give four reasons why prioritising preparatory discussions on research and education within Brexit negotiations are essential.
Timing is a serious issue, since the conclusion of Horizon 2020 coincides with the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, and there is a reals risk that complex EU-UK trade and other negotiations will not be complete by that date, which in turn would exclude the UK from the initial phase of the programmes. Second, the authors point out the importance of UK participation in the EU Framework Programmes. Third, unlike some sectors of the EU economy, mechanisms allowing for the participation of non-EU countries already exist for research and education. Fourth, early alignment would provide reassurance that a deep and constructive relationship between the EU and UK is feasible.
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