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‘Mega-Bologna’- EU plans to transform university co-operation




Two new initiatives from the European Commission seek to improve co-operation among European higher education institutions. This afternoon Commissioner Vice President Margaritis Schinas and Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, announced the initiatives from Strasbourg, kicking off the European Year of Youth.

The first initiative is a strategy to support European universities as they work to move forward and co-operate with one another. The Commission hopes to achieve this goal through several objectives that will provide universities with the opportunity to become the center of European life. 

The second proposal aims to build more bridges between European Universities. The proposal will enable the development of joint degrees, resource pooling and transnational programmes between universities in Europe. European Union states are encouraged to create legislation which facilitates these activities, which seems to be the next step towards the creation of the European Higher Education Area. The European Higher Education Area was created by the Bologna Declaration in 1999. 

“In my understanding of course Bologna was the first step of a process which is now gaining lots of traction,” Schinas said. “It’s much more ambitious, more structured. But what we are doing now is not just Bologna the sequel. It’s ‘Mega Bologna Plus.’”

These actions come as the Erasmus+ program puts out a call for more European Universities to join the program, which allows students to move more freely between different university campuses across several European states. The program already sponsors 41 transnational alliances of universities, which includes more than 280 higher education institutions. This call will bring the Commission closer to their goal of 60 European Universities by 2024. 

The next steps for these initiatives lie with the EU countries as well as European universities to create legislation and implement programs that make it easier for European students to move between countries and foster a more cohesive European Identity.


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