In mid-December 2017, the Swiss parliament approved the continuation of this solution to partially replace the European programme Erasmus+. This means that, until the end of Erasmus+, the continuity and stability of mobility and cooperation activities between Switzerland and Europe can be guaranteed with additional funding. At the same time, the parliament also approved a motion to instruct the federal council to start negotiations with the European commission for an association to the Erasmus+ follow-up programme as soon as possible.
We are delighted that the financing will continue to maintain mobility and cooperation with Europe despite the exclusion from Erasmus+. The current parliamentary dispatch now also makes it possible to expand mobility and cooperation beyond European borders. Part of the budget is earmarked specifically for trialling mobility and cooperation outside of Europe.
If I had to take stock after nearly four years of SEMP, I would say that the continuation of mobility between Switzerland and Europe after being excluded from Erasmus+ is the most important and positive aspect of the Swiss solution. Other advantages include the high degree of flexibility in the design and low administrative burdens. The disadvantages of SEMP on the other hand are the high costs for incoming students, which have to be covered solely by Swiss funding. Another drawback is that there are no substitute opportunities for many Erasmus+ actions, especially in the field of cooperation projects, and Swiss higher education institutions must cope with less visibility within the European educational area.
What precisely can be funded with the Swiss solution for Erasmus+? This overview of Erasmus+ funding instruments provides information on the possible collaboration with Swiss institutions within the framework of Erasmus+ or the Swiss programme for Erasmus+.
In the first two years of SEMP, 106 students spent a period of their studies in the UK. The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, the University of Manchester and the University of Kent are among the most popular destinations. Work placements in higher education institutions and private business enterprises are even more popular: 143 students realised a traineeship in the UK. The other way around, and thanks to SEMP, 130 students from the United Kingdom studied at the University of Geneva, the University of Lausanne and the ETH Zurich between 2014 and 2016. The latest statistics on the academic year 2016–17 will be published in a few weeks' time.
Since 2014, Switzerland has no longer been a programme country of Erasmus+, but a partner country. To enable Swiss institutions to continue taking part in cooperation and mobility activities with the Erasmus+ programme countries, the Federal Council adopted an interim solution for Erasmus+ financed with Swiss funds. To offer reciprocity, financial support is also provided for people and institutions from Europe to spend time in Switzerland (incoming).