EU: Brexit should not disrupt Erasmus students in Britain

Brussels - Students in the Erasmus youth exchange programme should conclude their stays in Britain past March 29, the day the country is due to exit the European Union, the European Commission said Wednesday.

The proposal is the latest in a series of contingency measures the commission has announced in case Britain crashes out of the bloc without a deal.

Such a risk is becoming more likely after British lawmakers voted to try to renegotiate a withdrawal deal with the EU.

About 14,000 young people from 27 EU countries will be in Britain on March 30 under the programme, which allows Europeans to study, train, work or volunteer abroad for a year. In 2017, Britain was its most popular destination.

A further 7,000 young Britons in the programme will be in other EU member states, and they, too, are expected to be covered.

The proposal must still go through the European Parliament and EU member states for final approval.

In related news, EU member states said they would continue to fund programmes supporting peace and reconciliation as well as social and economic cohesion along the Irish border, whether there is a Brexit deal or not.

The programmes will run their full course through 2020, the member states said. Under the 2014-2020 budget cycle, they have been allocated 269 million euros (307 billion dollars).

The Irish border is one of most contested issues in the Brexit debate, and concerns are rising that a "no-deal" Brexit will lead to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland was beset by sectarian strife until a peace agreement in 1998.