EU’s Erasmus. No thank you its barely used, ideologically driven, and fearfully expensive.

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readAug 4, 2021


With the UK taking seven out of the ten top places in the Times’ list of “Best universities in Europe 2021”, it is clear that the EU needs the UK far more than the UK needs the EU when it comes to student exchanges. No wonder the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reports that an astonishing 143,000 students from the EU27 were studying in the UK in the academic year 2018/2019.

I present the facts about Erasmus — the EU scheme to indoctrinate the youth of a continent.

In this article answer the following key questions

  1. Is Erasmus+ a university student exchange programme?
  2. How many UK students have actually benefited?
  3. How much has it cost the UK taxpayer?
  4. What is Erasmus+ and why is it dangerous?
  5. How many UK university staff have taken advantage of it?

1. Is Erasmus+ a university student exchange programme?

No, it is not. Here is how the EU Commission describes it:

“Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.”

This is not a description of an exchange programme, allowing students at UK universities to spend part of their degree courses at EU universities. It is a far wider programme, involving sport, youth work studies, and other activities and it is vastly expensive, costing billions.

2. How many UK university students have benefited from Erasmus+?

This is the key question. How many students benefit from the billions the UK has spent with the EU on the Erasmus+ programme?

99.6% of UK students don’t even use the EU’s youth system, while EU27 students benefit hugely

  • Erasmus+ was used by only 9,993 UK students in 2019 [Source: EU Commission]
  • That’s less than 10,000 out of a total of 2,383,970 higher education students in the UK [source HESA]
  • Only 0.4% of UK students in higher education use the EU’s Erasmus+
  • 99.6% of UK students do not even use it at all
  • This alone makes the costs completely unjustifiable.

3. How much does it cost UK and EU taxpayers?

A full one-third of the Erasmus+ budget isn’t for any form of exchanges for young people at all. It’s for “partnerships and reforms of the education and youth sectors.” Only two-thirds of the budget is for “learning opportunities abroad for young people”.

In 2019, the UK received only €87m (£79 million GBP) in grants for higher education students. This is out of a total EU budget for Erasmus+ of €16.4 billion over the period 2014–2020, an average of €2.34bn euros per year or £2.13 billion pounds. These already huge costs will rise dramatically in the year 2021 as the Erasmus budget has just been increased by an eye-watering 60%.

The UK Government has now pledged £100m (GBP) for the new Turing Scheme to replace Erasmus. That is 26% more than the £79 million the UK received back for its students, from its contributions to the EU under Erasmus+. For higher education students the UK received just 4.1% of the total money the EU spent on Erasmus+ in 2019, despite being one of the few net contributors to the EU’s budget. To put this into context, in overall terms the UK was funding around 12.5% of the EU’s budget.

The UK taxpayer has been funding Erasmus+ to the tune of approximately £266 million pounds per year.
Had the UK stayed in the EU, this would have increased this year to approximately £425 million pounds.

I should also point out that €1.7bn of the EU’s budget went to other countries, as part of the EU’s ‘External Action’ programme. This carried on throughout 2020, despite the UK having no say in how the money was spent.

4. So what really is Erasmus+, and why is it dangerous?

Erasmus+ is part of the “EU Youth Strategy” and the “European Education Area”. Here is what the EU Commission has to say about these.

“The EU Youth Strategy should contribute to realising this vision of young people by mobilising EU level policy instruments as well as actions at national, regional and local level by all stakeholders.”

“Erasmus+ doesn’t just have opportunities for students… it has opportunities for a wide variety of individuals and organisations…. Erasmus+ also aims to promote the sustainable development of its partners in the field of higher education, and contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU Youth Strategy.”

In October 2020 the EU Commission announced that it will be completing a “European Education Area” by 2025, thereby moving one further step towards the homogenisation of the formerly independent nation-states of Europe

For years the EU has been achieving its goal by targeting young people with continuous propaganda and ‘initiatives’ as I have reported many times before. Here is what they said about their latest move:-

“The European Education Area is underpinned by six dimensions: quality, inclusion and gender equality, green and digital transitions, teachers, higher education, a stronger Europe in the world. Initiatives will inter alia look at ways to enhance quality, notably with regard to basic and digital skills and to make school education more inclusive and gender sensitive and improve school success. They will help strengthen understanding of climate change and sustainability, foster the greening of education infrastructure, support the teaching profession, further roll out European Universities and enhance connectivity among education and training institutions.

“The Communication sets out the means and milestones to achieve the European Education Area by 2025, supported by Europe’s Recovery Plan (NextGenerationEU) and the Erasmus+ Programme.”

In short, Erasmus+ is not a student exchange programme. It is part of a concerted strategy from the EU Commission to indoctrinate the youth of Europe.

5. How have the teaching staff done out of Erasmus+?

My analysis shows that the pro-EU and anti-Brexit teaching staff who are so in favour of Erasmus+ have benefited rather more than their students.

According to the EU Commission, a total of 3,962 UK teaching staff used Erasmus+ in 2019. With HESA reporting total staff numbers of 217,065 this equates to 1.8% of the teaching body — a take-up of more than four times the proportion of their student population.

Perhaps this helps to explain the huge proportion of the teaching profession who voted to Remain.

UK teaching staff are massively anti-Brexit

  • 75% of secondary school teachers backed Remain
  • Nearly 90% of university lecturers backed Remain

I believe strongly in the importance and power of education. When it comes to student exchanges, I believe these are hugely beneficial — both to the students concerned and to the effect these can have on mutual understanding and good relations between countries in the future.

In the long campaign, I have waged against the EU’s Erasmus+ I have been careful to stress that educational opportunities for British young people to study abroad are vital. I also value very highly the positive impact of large numbers of future world leaders and influencers who came to the UK as part of their studies when they were young.

Early this year The Scottish First Minister accused the UK Government of “cultural vandalism” in discontinuing the UK’s membership of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. With the dramatic fall in the international rankings of the Scottish education system under the SNP’s rule, I suggest that the epithet of vandalism might perhaps be better applied closer to home.

My criticisms have been solely confined to the EU’s Erasmus scheme: its ideological motives, its inefficient use of resources, and its huge spread into areas that have nothing to do with the basic premise of student exchanges. I would like to think that I have conducted a consistent campaign to inform MPs about the true nature of Erasmus, I wrote many letters to many MPs and I hope I made a difference. Certainly, the U-turn by Government on this issue just before Christmas was unexpected by everyone, except perhaps a few. It was the right decision.

Sources: EU Commission | Higher Education Statistics Agency | Times Educational Supplement | UK Dept of Education ]



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.