On 26 May, the Swiss Federal Council broke off negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union on the Institutional Framework Agreement (IFA). At the moment, is unclear how this decision will impact the negotiations on Switzerland’s association to Erasmus+ and the Horizon Europe research programme.

Neither educational nor research cooperation are legally bound with the Framework Agreement. Currently, we cannot definitively determine the extent to which the decision not to sign the IFA will hinder a successful association, which remains Switzerland’s objective in these negotiations.

In Switzerland, the Federal Council, Parliament and the key educational actors have all advocated for Switzerland’s association to the Erasmus+ programme for 2021 to 2027. The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) has met with the Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission repeatedly on an informal level since May 2019 (see the SERI Fact Sheet on Switzerland and Erasmus+).

It remains to be seen if and when Switzerland can start negotiations for the purpose of an association to Erasmus+. Perhaps the current situation will present the opportunity for cooperation in less controversial areas, such as education and extracurricular youth work.

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