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EU proposing post-Brexit joint youth work and study scheme with UK | Politics News

Young people could be able to move more easily between the UK and Europe and stay longer to work, study and train under proposed plans by the European Union

Under the proposal, which has been put forward by the European Commission, new rules would be drawn up to allow for greater movement between the UK and EU countries for people aged between 18 and 30.

Formal negotiations have not yet begun, and a UK source told Sky News no formal proposal had been put forward by Brussels to begin negotiating on.

The proposal will be further discussed by the European Council, which represents all the nations, before negotiations start in earnest.

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The plans proposed by the EU would allow young people to stay in Europe for periods of four years, with the same rules extended to EU citizens coming to Britain.

It would also mean EU students paying the same fees as British ones. Since Brexit, UK universities have charged much higher fees to European students.

Announcing the move, the European Commission said it wanted to take an “innovative” approach to tackling the barriers experienced by young people looking to travel from the EU to the UK and vice versa for longer periods.

“The objective would be to facilitate youth exchanges, making it easier for young citizens to travel, work and live in the UK, with reciprocity for young UK nationals in a member state,” said the Commission, in a statement.

“The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has hit young people in the EU and UK who would like to study, work and live abroad particularly hard,” claimed Maros Sefcovic, the Commission’s vice-president who oversees relations with the UK.

“Our aim is to rebuild human bridges between young Europeans on both sides of the Channel.”

This scheme is separate to the 90-day visa-less travel that UK citizens can take advantage of on the continent.

According to the Commission, they do not foresee the scheme allowing UK citizens to travel around the Schengen area unimpeded, but rather the visa would only be valid for a single state.

It added: “It is not about conferring to young UK nationals the benefits of the fundamental freedom of movement enjoyed by EU citizens.”

However, visas would not be “purpose-bound” and would allow people to work, travel or study.

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UK Border control is seen in Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London June 4, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall
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The EU want to negotiate an agreement as a whole, rather than country by country. Pic: Reuters

Rather than just being a free exchange, the EU also says it wants people taking part in the scheme to be subject to checks with the bloc or the UK able to reject applications – for example if someone was thought to be a threat to public policy, security or health.

The UK government currently has a series of agreements with 13 individual countries – including New Zealand, South Korea, Andorra, Iceland and India, which provide a similar pathway to what the EU is proposing.

The government has said it is open to the idea of extending those agreements with European countries, but has shied away from doing a pan-EU deal and there will be those who fear that an agreement such as this would be the first step towards the UK being drawn into a “freedom of movement” deal.

The EU said it wants a group deal to “ensure that all member states are treated equally in respect of mobility of young people to the UK” – but the current government seems to prefer its current set of agreements.

The Commission has rejected these fears, with sources insisting there is no intention of either pulling the UK into such a deal, or even offering it.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “We have spoken about wanting to reduce legal migration and also about wanting to support UK talent and skills and that’s why we have a system in place whereby we have a number of agreements with individual EU member states where that works in our interests and we have that rather than a Commission-wide agreement.”

Labour denied it had plans for a youth mobility scheme.

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Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, a trade body representing the hospitality sector in the UK, welcomed the move.

She said: “Such an agreement would be a huge success for hospitality and tourism and, practically, it would solve challenges for the live music and events sectors.”

BBC presenter accused over explicit photos ‘stripped to underpants during video call with youth’ | UK News

A “household name” BBC presenter accused of paying a teenager for explicit photos is facing fresh allegations that he stripped to his underpants during a video call with the youth.

The young person’s mother said she was “shocked” after her offspring showed her a screenshot of the video chat, in which the unnamed star was sitting in his boxer shorts on a sofa at his home.

She told The Sun that the man appeared to be “leaning forward, getting ready for my child to perform for him.”

“My child told me, ‘I have shown things’ and this was a picture from some kind of video call,” she added.

The newspaper did not say when the alleged incident happened.

The mother also alleged that earlier this year she was shocked after overhearing the presenter “on the phone saying to my child: ‘I told you not to f***ing ring me’.”

It comes after The Sun previously claimed that the well-known presenter had paid a total of more than £35,000 to the youth in return for “sexual pictures”.

The man is said to have first requested images when the teenager was 17 back in 2020, and has made a series of payments since then.

No one involved has been named, but The Sun said the presenter has not been suspended and is thought to still being paid his six-figure salary in full.

It said the family made a complaint on 19 May but came forward to the media after becoming frustrated that the man was still on air a month later.

The mother said her offspring told her they had also received a payment of £1,000 in June over PayPal which suggested that the “BBC hadn’t spoken to this man” in the weeks after the initial complaint.

Going public ‘the only way to stop it’

The presenter is now off-air and the BBC has reportedly launched an investigation, although the corporation has not confirmed this.

The youth, who is now aged 20, used the money to fund a crack cocaine habit which “destroyed” their life, the mother has also claimed.

She told the newspaper: “If it goes on then my child is going to wind up dead. Putting this out to the public is the only way to stop it.”

The claims have prompted frenzied speculation on social media over the identity of the presenter and led to a string of BBC stars, including Jeremy Vine and Gary Lineker, to public speak out to deny they are the mystery figure.

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Earlier on the BBC’s News at Ten programme, the broadcaster’s special correspondent Lucy Manning described the situation as “very serious for the BBC” and warned it could “severely dent the BBC’s reputation”.

She added: “The understanding is the presenter isn’t due on air in the near future, but we haven’t been told – and we have asked…. whether there has or hasn’t been a formal suspension.

“The BBC will need to answer if the investigation should have happened sooner, if it should have been more thorough, and if it’s fair to other presenters, unconnected to this, that their names are now sort of in the headlines.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We treat any allegations very seriously and we have processes in place to proactively deal with them.

“As part of that, if we receive information that requires further investigation or examination we will take steps to do this. That includes actively attempting to speak to those who have contacted us in order to seek further detail and understanding of the situation.”

They added: “If we get no reply to our attempts or receive no further contact that can limit our ability to progress things but it does not mean our enquiries stop.

“If, at any point, new information comes to light or is provided – including via newspapers – this will be acted upon appropriately, in line with internal processes.”