Susanna Siddell

The EU this week - From Vying for Vaccines to Erasing Erasmus - 26th March 2021

We’re all in this together?

As the vaccine rollout continues throughout the EU, David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, has warned countries to avoid fighting amongst themselves.

As some countries, with Austria leading the way, have made claims concerning an unjust distribution of vaccines, virtual talks are to be held on Thursday to settle this upset.

There has also been mention of tightening export controls, which may affect supplies to the UK, despite Boris Johnson highlighting the negative effects of the introduction of 'blockades'.

Image: Ivan Diaz from Unsplash

In light of this, on Thursday, the President of the European Parliament stated that:

'There is no sense in us turning on each other, just as there is no sense in thinking that others are doing much better.'

'Salvation lies in working together.'

Despite the EU being the greatest exporter of vaccine doses to a grand total of 33 countries, the BBC said that 'the EU states have started sluggishly', often blaming the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for leaving their contractual promises unfulfilled. AstraZeneca has denied these accusations.

The Turing scheme: the same but with a different name

Students with learning abroad opportunities across the UK have been particularly waiting on the UK government to provide more information on the new Erasmus scheme.

Named after the famous mathematician and cryptographer, Alan Turing, this new scheme will allow UK students to study overseas. This has come about as a result of the UK’s refusal to continue its participation in the Erasmus scheme, which had been in place since 1987.

Now, universities (and other organisations) will have to apply for grants for travel expenses, living costs and, of course, administration costs of the scheme. These bodies must apply first, and then allow students to apply for funding.

The Turing scheme allows students to travel across the world, which means that students are no longer restricted to EU countries and a select few non-EU countries, as it has originally operated under Erasmus.

As expected, the amount of funding that a student will receive is dependent on location and length of stay, which varies between individuals – from students to apprentices to trainees and beyond. As well as this, the Turing scheme will not cover tuition fees for students studying abroad, but it seems to expect that participating countries will simply waive the fees.

As the Minister of Universities has stated: 'The way it’ll work is our universities will partner with another university and they will waive the fees because they will be exchanging students'.

For the first year of the scheme in action, the government has put £110m aside. Funding for further years (past 2021/22) has not yet been confirmed.