European Ministers adopt the Yerevan Bologna Communiqué
On Friday 15 May, European Education Ministers adopted a new Bologna Communiqué. It acknowledges achievements since their last meeting in Bucharest in 2012, and sets out their commitments for the next phase. Together with representatives of countries from outside the EHEA, they also adopted the Bologna Policy Forum Statement.
Unlike on previous occasions, the Communiqué also mentions challenges, e.g. it points to “uneven”, “incorrect”, bureaucratic and superficial implementation. This is also a result of the more comprehensive and diligent assessment of progress in recent years. A presentation of the second Bologna Implementation Report reminded the audience that the “portability of grants and loans” to which Ministers commit in the Yerevan Communiqué, had already been agreed to at the 2003 Conference in Berlin. However as the report shows, so far, only a few countries have been implementing it. Most EHEA countries were represented at the conference, many at ministerial level, confirming that the process still has convening power. Given that all EHEA neighbouring countries had been invited to join the Bologna Policy Forum, it is a bit disappointing that only five countries attended, and it certainly raises the question of what should be the future of this initiative.
While some Ministers may feel that there are more urgent issues than Bologna, university leaders tend to be more positive about the process today than some years ago. This is one of the conclusions from the recently launched EUA Trends 2015 Report.
EUA Secretary General Lesley Wilson, speaking in a stakeholder panel during the conference, pointed out that significant change has taken place over the past years in European higher education institutions as a result of the Bologna Process, and related national reforms. But she also warned that in many countries, budget cuts combined with restricting autonomy, threatened to endanger quality and achievements and hinder further reform progress, in particular the goal of widening access and participation. At the same time, looking forward, it will be important for European universities that the Bologna Process addresses the issues that will matter for their future.
Antwerp Declaration: Developing strong institutions to advance the knowledge-based society
The EUA Antwerp Declaration
– "A strategic agenda for universities: Developing strong institutions to advance the knowledge-based society" – has been endorsed by EUA’s governing bodies. This declaration addresses policy makers, political leaders and decision makers at all levels – regional, national and European – as well as European universities.
EUA Research Policy Working Group meeting: Horizon 2020 cuts and new EUA Expert Groups
On 7 May, the EUA Research Policy Working Group (RPWG) met at the British Antarctic Survey headquarters at the University of Cambridge, UK, to discuss EUA activities in the area of research and innovation. The discussions covered a broad range of topics, including the proposed Horizon 2020 cuts related to the funding of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the establishment of two new EUA Expert Groups and the upcoming Joint Declaration of the ERA Stakeholders Platform.
Launch of ‘SHARE’ – EU support to ASEAN higher education harmonisation
The four-year project “European Union Support to Higher Education in ASEAN Region (SHARE)” (2015-2018) has been officially launched in Jakarta, Indonesia. EUA is a consortium partner in the project together with the British Council (lead), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), EP-Nuffic, Campus France, and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). The project is overseen by the European Union Delegation in Jakarta.
Benchmarking University Autonomy: ATHENA Regional Forum
On 12 and 13 May the ATHENA Regional Benchmarking Forum was held at Yerevan State University in Armenia. The event represented a major milestone in the EUA-led ATHENA project fostering university autonomy and financial sustainability in Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine.
8th EUA Council for Doctoral Education Annual Meeting – Last chance to register
Registrations for the 8th Annual Meeting of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) that will take place from 18 to 19 June at the Technische Universität München/TUM Graduate School in Germany will be open until 5 June. The theme of this year’s event is “The Future of Doctoral Education – where do we go from here?”
EUA encourages members and partners to respond to EU Neighbourhood Policy consultation
The European Commission has invited all relevant stakeholders and interested individuals to respond to a public consultation entitled “Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy”. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was designed in 2003 to develop closer relations and establish an area of cooperation and prosperity between the EU and its neighbouring countries in the South and East.