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Published:  18 Jan 2022

Commission takes action for the future of universities and deeper transnational cooperation in higher education in Europe

The two new initiatives adopted today will support universities in shaping sustainable and resilient economies and in making our society greener, more inclusive and more digital. The initiatives are a first step towards these ambitious objectives. They now require joint commitment at the institutional, regional, national and EU levels to take effect.  

A European strategy for universities

The Commission Communication on a European strategy for universities proposes a set of important actions, to support Europe’s universities towards four objectives:

  • strengthen the European dimension of higher education and research
  • consolidate universities as lighthouses of our European way of life with supporting actions focusing on academic and research careers, quality and relevance for future-proof skills, diversity, inclusion, democratic practices, fundamental rights and academic values
  • empower universities as key actors of change in the twin green and digital transition
  • reinforce universities as drivers of Europe’s global role and leadership

Building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation

The Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation aims to enable European higher education institutions to cooperate in a closer and deeper manner.

It will seek to facilitate the implementation of joint transnational educational programmes and activities, pooling capacity and resources or awarding joint degrees.

Making it happen: four flagship initiatives

  • Expand to 60 European Universities alliances to include more than 500 universities by mid-2024, with an indicative Erasmus+ programme budget totalling €1.1 billion for the period2021-2027, as well as complementary support from the Horizon Europe and InvestEU programmes.
  • Work towards a legal statute for alliances of higher education institutions to allow them to pool resources, capacities and their strengths, with an Erasmus+ pilot as of 2022
  • Work towards a joint European degree to recognise the value of transnational experiences in higher education qualifications obtained by the students and reduce the administrative burden for delivering joint programmes
  • Scale-up the European Student Card initiative by starting to deploy a unique European Student Identifier available to all mobile students in 2022 and to all students in universities in Europe by mid-2024, to facilitate mobility at all levels.
Published:  18 Jan 2022