Brexit: what are the consequences for your European projects?

After more than 4 years of negotiations, the United Kingdom definitively left the European Union on 1 January 2021. In our blog, we explain the impact Brexit will have on your European projects (Horizon 2020, Erasmus+) and for Horizon Europe.

Brexit in a nutshell

The final chapter of Brexit, which opened after the June 2016 referendum, was completed on 24 December 2020, when the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed upon the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This agreement defines the new relationship between Brussels and London in various areas, including:

  • trade,
  • taxation,
  • fisheries,
  • movement of people,
  • police and judicial cooperation,
  • the British participation in certain European programmes.

The agreement was signed on 30 December 2020 between the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. It was also approved by the British Parliament.

Since 1 January 2021, this agreement has been regulating the EU-UK relations on a provisional basis. It has yet to be ratified by the European Parliament during the first quarter of 2021. However, the 27 Member States have already agreed to its early application.

The impact of Brexit on H2020 projects

In principle, if you are currently participating in a Horizon 2020 project with a UK partner or coordinator, nothing changes. Indeed, the conditions for participation remain the same until the end of the current H2020 projects, even in spite of Brexit.

Except in the event of any fault or legitimate interest established by amendment to the grant and consortium agreements, UK participation in ongoing H2020 projects will continue. It is not the nationality of a participant that matters, but its ability to take on the role of partner or coordinator.

For information here.

Which partnership for Horizon Europe?

With the exception of the European Innovation Council Accelerator (EIC Accelerator), the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement foresees a possible association of the United Kingdom with Horizon Europe, the future framework programme for research and innovation.

In other words, UK partners will be eligible for funding of Horizon Europe projects, except in the cases stated in the future association agreement. Negotiations on the sub-programmes in which the UK will participate are currently underway. More information coming soon!

UK participation in Erasmus+

As with Horizon 2020, the United Kingdom retains its status as a participant in the Erasmus+ 2014-2020 programme. In fact, for ongoing Erasmus+ projects with UK partners, nothing changes.

However, with regard to the future 2021-2027 programme, the agreement concluded on 24 December 2020 changes the status of the United Kingdom: unlike Horizon Europe, the UK will not associate with the programme and will become a “third country”.

Moreover, the British government is already preparing the exit of Erasmus+, notably through the “Turing programme“. The aim of this new scheme is to offer British students the opportunity to study and work abroad, replacing the European mobility programme from the start of the 2021 academic year.