UK rejects talks on EU wide youth mobility scheme

Youth mobility scheme ruled out by UK

UK rejects talks on EU-wide youth mobility scheme

The Government has ruled out any post-Brexit deal that would make it easier for young Britons to live, study and work in the EU.

The European Commission said on Thursday it would seek permission from EU member states to open negotiations on a “youth mobility scheme” for UK citizens aged 18-30.

But a Government spokesperson said there was no interest from the UK side, adding that “free movement within the EU was ended”.

The UK currently has individual youth mobility schemes with 13 countries, and the Government said it preferred such bilateral arrangements over an EU-wide deal.

Labour also rejected the possibility of an EU-wide scheme, saying the party would “seek to improve the UK’s working relationship with the EU within our red lines – no return to the single market, customs union or free movement”.

On Thursday, the Commission suggested Britain had expressed an interest in youth mobility deals with individual member states, adding an EU-wide approach would be preferable as it would ensure all members were treated equally.

European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said Brexit had “hit young people in the EU and the UK who would like to study, work and live abroad particularly hard”.

He added: “Today, we take the first step towards an ambitious but realistic agreement between the EU and the UK that would fix this issue. Our aim is to rebuild human bridges between young Europeans on both sides of the Channel.”

EU member states would have had to agree to the proposals first before any negotiations with the UK could begin.

But a UK Government spokesperson said: “We are not introducing an EU-wide Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) – free movement within the EU was ended and there are no plans to introduce it.

“We have successful schemes with 13 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, and remain open to agreeing them with our international partners, including individual EU member states, where it’s in the UK’s interest and supports the skills and opportunities of our youth.”

While Labour also ruled out an EU-wide deal, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said such an agreement would be a “win-win-win”.

He said: “Liberal Democrats have long been urging the Government to negotiate a reciprocal youth mobility scheme with Europe.

“Of course the details would need to be negotiated, but no sensible UK government would reject this idea out of hand.”

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP, criticised Labour for ruling out a deal if it came to power.

He said: “Scotland rejected Brexit, yet Labour wants to deny our young people the opportunity to live, study and work in the EU, all to appease hard-Brexiteers.

“I would expect this from the Tories, but for Labour to follow the same path is unforgivable.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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