Brexit: what are the consequences for the EU and the Erasmus program?

Brexit: what are the consequences for the EU and the Erasmus program?

On the 23rd of June 2016, during a referendum, organized by the former Prime Minister David Cameron, 51.9 % of the British people have chosen to leave the EU. The “British Exit”, also known as “Brexit” was born. Since then, for almost two years, it’s been a burning topic among European leaders.

But what are the major issues with it and what would be the specific impact on the Erasmus+ program and European students?

Consequences to the Brexit for the EU and the Erasmus program

What is Brexit actually?

As the people of the United Kingdom have vote, the country is therefore ready to leave the EU. A process which is supposed to end in March 2019, after 2 years of complex negotiations between the British government and its 27 European government counterparts. Since the 23rd of March 2018, Theresa May doesn’t allow any backward steps, as it will be a “hard Brexit”, no concessions. Here are the main measures: leaving the EU single market, leaving the EU, not depending anymore from the European Commission.

Ms May aims to have the power to negotiate her own commercial agreements, mainly with the Commonwealth. She still wishes that she could maintain a free-trade agreement with the EU, yet, she has admitted that life will be whole lot different for the British people. “We have to reach a new equilibrium. However, we will not accept Canadian rights and Norway obligations.” -she warned.
Nevertheless, her idea to negotiate individually with each European country has been a huge failure. Donald Tusk, the European Council president, declared: United Kingdom has chosen to leave the single market and the customs union will lead to “tensions” in their future commercial relations. Meaning that you are either in the European union, or you are not and personalized agreements will not happen. Without these agreements, the United Kingdom would be considered as a regular non-European country and would have to respect the World Trade Organizations rules which would mean tariff barriers.

In order to understand clearly, a document was presented by Michel Barnier to the European Council on the 15th of December 2017. It shows all the requirements from the EU, that the United Kingdom would have to fulfill in order to receive benefits from the EU and be considered as a partner like Switzerland for instance. If Theresa May will not reverse her decision keep the “No Deal” situation, the United-Kingdom will be a third-party country for the Europeans, like Japan for example.
United-Kingdom is now back to level zero. If the British people want, one day, to be part again of the EU, they would have to start from scratch and apply like a regular country would do!

Future relationship between Europe and United-Kingdom

Brexit is on its way, yes, but… a small way out still exists which could prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the EU. It would only require Theresa May to address a letter to Donald Tusk in order to reverse her statements concerning the 50th article about the EU. To do so, the deadline would be on the 29th of March 2019. Regarding the current political and economic differences, this seems unlikely to happen.

The Brexit in a few dates

20/02/2016: David Cameron announces that the referendum will take place on the 23rd of June 2016. The question asked is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave it?”.

23/06/2016: Votes have been calculated, the result: 51.9% of the British people wants Brexit, to leave the EU.

24/06/2016: The Prime Minister, David Cameron resigns.

13/07/2016: Theresa May becomes Prime Minister. A new ministry dedicated to the Brexit is entrusted to David Davis, former European Affair secretary.

27/07/2016: Michel Barnier is named as the new chief negotiator of the commission in charge of leading negotiations with the United Kingdom.

17/01/2017: Theresa May confirms the “hard Brexit” by mentioning a total withdraw from the Union, including the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice. She presents her plan by defending a clear separation with the EU: “The United Kingdom can’t be part of the EU anymore”.

29/03/2017: United Kingdom invokes the 50th article of the Lisbon Treaty and triggers the leaving process.

29/04/2017: Theresa May’s project is being approved by the European Summit, all the 27 member-states.

22/05/2017: The EU adopts Michel Bergé’s negotiating mandate and officially gives him the right to start discussing with British government.

19/06/2017: Official start of the negotiation.

22/09/2017: Speech in Florence. Theresa May asks for maintaining the current bonds with the EU for a transition period of 2 years after the Brexit, in order to avoid a brutal change in rules for citizens and firms.

08/12/2017: Preliminary agreement on 3 key points, but which still remains discussed until October 2018. First of all, the 40 to 45 billion euro exit bill to be paid during the upcoming years, corresponding to the commitments taken in 2014 for the European budget. Secondly, European citizens residing in the United Kingdom and British people living in the other member countries shall keep their rights. Finally, the last key point is about not returning to a physical border between Northern and Southern Ireland.

19/01/2018: British and European negotiators managed to transcribe juridically the post-Brexit transition period terms (130-pages-long agreement, 75% approved by both parties).

23/03/2018: Adoption of the general guidelines by the 27 European leaders within the framework of future relations between the EU and United Kingdom.

29/03/2019: Brexit ratification: United Kingdom will officially leave the 28 states European Union and all its institutions.

01/01/2021: Ending of the transition period. People, services and goods can’t move freely anymore between United Kingdom and European Union.

Follow-up to the European Council from the 23rd March 2018.

On Friday, the 23rd of March 2018, the 27 European leaders met the British leaders to discuss the future post-Brexit relations. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council (the European leaders Assembly), was satisfied with the common position adopted by the EU 27, concerning the negotiations in Brussel. This happened 3 days after the European Union announced the transition period which is going to last until the 31st of December, 2020.

He also asked the 27 leaders to give green light for a post-Brexit transition presented by Michel Barnier and David Davis. They had founded an agreement on these guidelines just before the summit. “We are reaching today a decisive step in this harsh and extraordinary negotiation” (statement relayed by Europe 1), observed Michel Barnier, who report the results of the negotiations to the 27 leaders. This will allow him to start discussing about the frame of the future partnerships with the United Kingdom, as they will have to respect EU’s principles and identity as well as the Single Market, considering that the United Kingdom will become a third-party country for European leaders.

Before leaving her peers, the British Prime Minister Theresa May wanted a new dynamic in the negotiations. Despite the separation, she wants to assure a strong partnership in terms of economics and security between the two parties.

Besides, she emphasized the fact that the temporary agreement on a 21 months post-Brexit transition is needed trade-offs from both sides but finally allowed to offer some certainties to companies and citizens concerned by the Brexit.

As for the EU, it still insists on finding a future free trade agreement in order to preserve the indivisibility of its single market, by reminding everyone one of its basic principles during this negotiation: no personalized trade agreement will be accepted.

⇒ To read, the official document on the guidelines of the European Council (Article 50) on the framework for future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, 23 March 2018

How will Brexit impact the Erasmus Program?

The Erasmus program was created by the European Commission in order to implement free student movements between the main European schools and universities. Launched in 1987 by 11 member-states, including United Kingdom, it has allowed more than 4 million students to study in another European country by giving them scholarships and canceling tuition fees. This program is bounded by the Schengen area.

“Schengen allows Erasmus and Erasmus needs Schengen” – Michel Grelier

Even if the United Kingdom had never been a member state, it has an exemption of allowing free movement of people, vital for the Erasmus program.
As predicted by Michel Grelier during his conference on the 14th of March 2018, negotiations aim for a “Hard-Brexit”. Thus, United Kingdom will not be a possible destination for the Erasmus program and British students will not be able to enjoy this benefit anymore.

What are the consequences for European students?

A lot of students have considered their studies or even their professional career in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the opportunities offered by the Erasmus program, British students had access to other European universities, whom could have benefited from reduced tuition fees and equivalent diplomas. Until now, British universities had welcomed almost 7000 students from the EU.

Theoretically, European students will still be able to study in United Kingdom but “they will have to spend much more money than before because they would be recruited as international students” explains Anne-Catherine Guitard, Kedge Business School (France) programs director. It is important to know that tuition fees are particularly high in United-Kingdom which makes its universities unaffordable for most of the Europeans without Erasmus program’s help. For example, Oxford university counts 60% of its students coming from an EU member-state. Thus, consequences will be catastrophic for this kind of universities. Moreover, students would need a VISA to consider studying in United-Kingdom and this could dissuade huge part of them!

What are the consequences for British students?

They will be ones who are the most impacted by the Brexit, obviously. Indeed, lots of them are eager to go abroad but without financial help from the Erasmus program, it will be harder for them to do so.
Questioned by France 24 in March 2017, the British Erasmus agency director Ruth Sinclair-Jones, states that “The first priority should be to make sure that the United Kingdom remains an Erasmus program member because it would benefit everyone, not just the British people”. Yet, we already know that it won’t happen, she claims that another option should be chosen within this restructuring so that “the next British generation of students won’t be prevented from enjoying the benefits of meeting other European students”. However, an agreement could be found, as with Switzerland and Norway today but this takes a lot of time and the deadline is March 2019.

⇒ To read, the official declaration from the Erasmus website about current participants and the following year’s applicants.

Negotiations are happening between the EU and the United Kingdom which are not leading towards the maintaining of the current program. Yet, we are waiting for independent negotiations to happen between the countries individually which could generate specific agreements with the universities. Results could be the recognition of diplomas internationally and reducing the tuition fees.
The new generation has the duty to protect the Schengen area for the Erasmus program and the European solidarity in general. Young British people are seeing their dream to study abroad going to ashes with the Brexit. On the other hand, European students will still benefits from a wide range of destinations while enjoying the economic help and ease from administrative processes provided by the EU.

In the short term, Brexit should not directly impact the Erasmus program for students already in exchange or close to leave. As long as the UK remains a member of the EU, the status quo prevails. 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the Erasmus exchanges will not be affected and the program will end with British people in June 2019 (end of the academic year).

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What you need to know for an internship in Europe

What you need to know for an internship in Europe

Going abroad for an internship in Europe is always an exciting step. Even when you just move to your neighbor country thousands of questions will cross your mind about visa application, a new health insurance, opening a bank account, going to the immigration office etc. Here is a list about some European countries and what you have to keep in mind when you move there. All students need an internship agreement provided by the university and this article focuses on European students who do an internship in the Schengen area and therefore do not require a Visa.

For more information, you can always ask us or inform yourself here.

If you stay longer than three months, you have to make an appointment in Spain to apply for N.I.E.

Internship in Spain

You have probably already heard about it, but you still don’t know what exactly it means, the N.I.E. First of all, N.I.E. stands for Número de identficación de Extranjero which means foreigner ID. Every worker in Spain needs it. If you stay less than three months, you can apply for N.I.E. at the embassy of your home country. Normally, it will take around three weeks before it arrives.

In order to apply for N.I.E., you need your identification card, a copy of your identification card on an A4 paper, your European health insurance card, rent contract and your internship agreement. Moreover, you have to fill out several documents which can be found online.

If you stay longer than three months, you have to make an appointment in Spain to apply for N.I.E. Keep in mind that some companies require the N.I.E. before you start your internship. If you make an appointment in advance, you will receive your N.I.E. directly during your meeting. Be careful when you are going to Barcelona. This city is so popular for internships that they are running out of appointments. If you stay less than three months, we strongly recommend you, to apply for your N.I.E. in your home country.

The host companies sometimes require a Spanish bank account for the salary. After receiving your N.I.E., you can easily open your bank account and get your social security number (Número securidad social). The N.I.E. costs 10,30 Euro.

Germany is known for its strong economy and offers internships in various fields.

Internship in Germany

Have you ever thought about doing your internship in Germany? Germany is known for its strong economy and offers internships in various fields.

As an European citizen, all you have to do is to go to the registration office within the first week after your arrival. You will need your ID card, a registration form and your rent contract. Don’t miss the deadline otherwise you have to pay a penalty fee. You don’t need a German health insurance when you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

If your internship is mandatory for your university, you won’t have to pay for social insurance, taxes, pension fund etc. However, you are also not entitled to receive the minimum wage. Most companies pay you a small amount of money to finance your stay.

For an internship in France, your host company is responsible for providing most of the documents.

Internship in France

For an internship in France, your host company is responsible for providing most of the documents. With your European Health Insurance Card, you do not need a French health insurance.

French companies have to pay 554 Euro minimum salary for interns. However, internships with a duration less than eight week do not have to be paid.

If you are a student from another EU country and in the UK for less than 6 months, you will require a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which must be obtained from your home country!

Internship in the United Kingdom

If you are a student from another EU country and in the UK for less than 6 months, you will require a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which must be obtained from your home country!

Next to this you require a national insurance (NI) number. You cannot apply for this number online so when you first move to London, you can call them and make an appointment. For the meeting, you will need the following documents: passport/identity card, residence permit, birth/adoption certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificate, driving license, work contract, proof of employment/studies and proof of address (rental agreement, letter or bill).

You have to pay taxes but can ask for a tax refund after your internship. The UK also has a minimum wage, however if the internship is a mandatory part of your study program, you do not have to receive any salary.

Due to the Brexit from 2016, the future of the United Kingdom is still unclear. The free movement and working possibility for internships might chance so keep yourself updated!

For a hospitality internship in Greece, your university needs a study program related to tourism, hospitality or leisure management.

Internship in Greece

For a hospitality internship in Greece, your university needs a study program related to tourism, hospitality or leisure management. Even when you are not enrolled in this program, you can still do an internship in Greece. An international health insurance is highly recommended. Some hotels have another internal contract that the student must sign. Ask your university in advance if it is possible for you to sign the internal contract! Most hotels provide full board accommodation and 300- 500 euro per month.

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What you should know before you pack for your internship abroad

What you should know before you pack for your internship abroad

I guess everyone knows the hassle and stress when you have to pack for your internship abroad. You probably only have one suitcase and no idea how you are going to survive such a long time without your wardrobe? I can reassure you, we are able to live with less than we accept! I am currently in Mexico for my internship and only have one 60L backpack for one year abroad and I am still alive. However, there are a few things, you should keep in mind!

Inform yourself about the dress code to pack for your internship abroad.

Inform yourself about the dress code

As mentioned in the previous post, you have to inform yourself about the dress code in your company, before you leave in order to be prepared at your arrival.

Inform yourself about the weather

Check the weather for the duration of your stay before you pack for your internship abroad. Just because you arrive in summer does not mean, it will be 30 degrees for the rest of your stay. I mainly packed summer clothes for my internship in Mexico and recognized afterwards that it will be around 0 degrees during winter. This was totally my fault so I end up wearing several layers to feel warm (and had to go shopping a lot)

Start to pack early enough

Don’t start to pack one day before you leave, just to find out that you have too much and sort out again or you miss something important. Write down a packing list and give yourself some time to pack carefully and start all over again. It is a hard and difficult task so don’t stress yourself.

Other countries have shopping malls too

In case, you forget something, you will find shopping malls almost everywhere and they will probably even have an shop with the same collections as at home. However, I always ask locals where they go shopping in order to explore their trends and fashion and it is the perfect way to spend some quality time with your new friends.

You will get tired of your clothes

After some time, you will definitely be tired of wearing the same three shirts every week and you strive to buy new ones. Thinking about your travel budget, I recommend trying Second – Hand shops to get clothes cheaper and in an ecological friendly way. In order to avoid extra luggage on your way back home, donate your old clothes for a refugee or red cross center.

Tell me in your opinion what you should know before you pack for your internship abroad? What is the most important item and what do you miss from home?

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Legal document to do an internship in Spain

Legal document to do an internship in Spain

Finally, you got your internship in Spain! That’s great! But after the happiness there are the administrative concerns… which are less fun. Even if Spain is part of the Schengen area, you cannot simply present yourself without the legal documents from your host company. PIC Management is helping you to find out all the administrative tasks you must take care of before going!

Legal document to do an internship and work in Spain.

Monday morning: you are really happy about going to the Traineeships office, asking for your internship agreement. First spanner in the works, the agreement is in English… which is not logical if you want to do an internship in Spain. Indeed, your company mentor is not going to understand what he/she is going to sign. In fact, the companies in Spain have the obligation to present official documents in their own language. To avoid the translation fees and the extensive delays, we provide you a standard document format in Spanish. Accordingly, you will need to convince your school/university that this document will be mandatory for your internship in Spain. But do not worry, the host company will sign the internship agreement from your school. However, the ERASMUS candidates aren’t concern by this norm.

Moreover, if your internship counsellor speaks Spanish, you can ask her to read the law about the internship regulations in Spain. Here we go, the first step is done, congratulations! Do you already feel the joy? Not too fast, it is not done yet…

Let’s start with the basics. You will have to present:

  • Your valid passport or your valid CNI.
  • Civil liability … Do not panic, we will write an article about it soon in order to discover this fabulous document!
  • The European Health Insurance Card.

Let’s finish by the NIE… But what is this? It is an identification number for foreigners. It is also a mandatory document to do your internship in Spain. We promise to write an article about this as well! Until that time, our PIC Management team will give you all the information about it. But if you want a hint about this document, do not hesitate to check the official website. Be brave, all of this will only be a bad memory when you will be enjoying the sun in Spain!

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The ultimate check list for going abroad

The ultimate check list for going abroad

Are you excited to go abroad? We are thinking about you. Thus, we will provide you with a short checklist for your next long-distance journey.

To ensure that your stay abroad is a success, it should be well-planned. Living in a different country is an adventure. Therefore, it should be organized in advance. Many students might think that organization is only buying the flight tickets, but this is not the case! At least, one should consider legal, health, safety and financial aspects before leaving home.

We will provide you with a ultimate checklist for going abroad.

Basic language

If you are reading this right now, your English is probably at a good level. However, you can never be certain that this is not always enough to get around easily. For instance, local people in Mexico or Panama do not necessarily understand English well.
Who does not appreciate if people visiting their home country speak some words in their native language? Think about all the misunderstandings that you can avoid by learning a few simple words. Local people will greatly appreciate your effort and you will have less problems to get around. Nobody has to invest in expensive books or audios, there are plenty of free apps.

Legal documents

In order to avoid strange situations at the airport or after your arrival, please make sure that you are legal! One of the things you should definitely check first is your passport. Is it valid 6 months after your departure? If not, it is recommended to apply for a new one.
Are you ensured during your stay abroad? Most European students have an insurance card that works perfectly fine within Europe. If that is not the case, please contract an international insurance.
Did you take care of your civil liability? Most people are not aware of this, but companies require this. It could be possible that your university takes care of it or your parents insurance. If none of this applies, you can contract one online or even when booking your flight.
If you needed a visa to enter the country, please make sure that you have all the necessary documents. Some countries such as China also require you to bring a few passport pictures or show the internship agreement.

Health

Do not travel when you are sick. Besides that, please obtain proper medical advice for instance from your local doctor regarding vaccinations.

Accommodation

It is convenient that all internships in the hospitality field offer an accommodation. If you are doing a business internships at a firm that does not offer an accommodation, here is one basic tip: search in social media to make social contacts and discover groups such as “rooms in …”. This could be beneficial for searching flat mates or for seeking advice abroad. Regarding flats, make sure that it is easy accessible by public transportation.

Phone

Not every airport has a working wi-fi connection. If you would like to stay connected, we can recommend to buy a sim card at the airport, if possible. They are usually affordable and already come with some free minutes and internet.

Currency

Moving to a country that does not have the same currency as yours? Change some cash in advance because some places do not accept credit cards or offer ATMs. It is always beneficial to have some cash for instance if you have to pay fees at the airport or need a taxi ride.
Also get familiar with the monetary conversion and make sure your credit card will work. Look beforehand if it makes sense to open a bank account or how high the fees for taking out cash from the ATM are.

Small details

There are a few other details that travelers value. One of them is to make sure that your memory card is big enough. The other one is a portable charger that ensures a sufficient battery of camera or phone. Other aspects could include to pack an extra set of clothes in the carry-on bag to be prepared in case your luggage may get lost. Take a look at the airline regulations so you can prepare to bring the right amount of checked and carried luggage for your trip. Finally, you should consider apps such as CityMaps2go or Mapsme that enable GPS without using up battery life or roaming data.

All in all, we understand that everybody has their own personal checklist depending on their needs. Nevertheless, we hope that this blog helps you to prepare for your next stay abroad. Stay safe and have fun!

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