The Higher Education Policy of the European Union

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1 Department of Sociology Centre for Sociology of Education E. Van Evenstraat 2B B Leuven The Higher Education Policy of the European Union With or Without the Member States? Prof. Dr. Jef C. Verhoeven +32/16/ Kurt De Wit +32/16/

2 leading question How has the tension between the nation-states and the European Union, between sovereignty and integration, influenced the development of a higher education policy at the level of the European Union?

3 main answer the importance of the supra-national level has increased significantly the Member States still retain strategic control in education the future role of the European Union remains uncertain

4 three periods in the HE policy of the European Union the first agreements between the national governments ( ) increasing community-level cooperation ( ) the treaty on European Union (1992) and onwards

5 three periods in the debate sovereignty vs. supranationality national sovereignty as the main principle ( ) increasing importance of the community level ( ) towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992 -?)

6 1. first agreements between the national governments ( ) establishment European Communities as an economic venture with expected spillover but: contested view education not in treaties (only vocational training) therefore not a priority (or even an issue)

7 1. first agreements between the national governments ( ) first meeting education ministers (1971) special arrangement: the Council and the ministers of education meeting within the council second thoughts about education action: juridical interpretations nationally oriented education systems other forms of co-operation preferred an irreversible recognition of an education dimension of Europe

8 1. first agreements between the national governments ( ) subsequent meetings (1974, 75, 76) confirmation of the (economic) importance of education establishment of an Education Committee Action Programme in the field of Education (1976) co-operation in higher education (entrusted to the Commission) mutual recognition of diplomas and periods of study freedom of movement and mobility

9 1. first agreements between the national governments ( ) contestation of spillover-effect (right of the EC to act in the field of education) meetings suspended budget pared status of Action Programme unclear related dossiers stopped nevertheless projects started in HE notably Joint Study Programme scheme but: - limited - mainly intergovernmental - can be considered pilot projects

10 2. increasing community-level co-operation ( ) mid-1980s: new momentum in economic integration movement draft treaty (EP), Dooge and Adonnino Committees, IGC 1985 Single European Act project 1992 goal: remove barriers to trade and mobility (fully integrated market) instruments: - internal market (EMU) - authority of EC extended - institutional profile changed package deal to balance loss of sovereignty and benefits for MS

11 2. increasing community-level co-operation( ) developments in higher education political developments e.g. Solemn Declaration on EU juridical developments legal battle between Member States and Commission cases Forchieri, Gravier, Blaizot reinterpretation of art. 128 by the European Court of Justice admission to vocational training within legal ambit of EEC-Treaty + university education can be regarded as vocational training

12 2. increasing community-level co-operation( ) on proposal of the European Commission COMETT co-operation between HE institutions and industry in the sphere of advanced training in new technologies ERASMUS mainly a student grant scheme, supported by a European University Network significance of these programmes: free money + seed money requirements to be met to receive funding challenged legally, but (again) pro- European rulings of the Court of Justice

13 2. increasing community-level co-operation( ) other policies and programmes LINGUA: complement to ERASMUS in the field of language proficiency TEMPUS: complement to ERASMUS for Poland and Hungary, later also for other Eastern and Central European countries diplomas and study periods: - academic recognition remains difficult - general system for professional recognition

14 2. increasing community-level co-operation( ) principles introduced by the Commission diversity respect for the traditions of each country and the diversity in education policy and education structures subsidiarity decisions should be taken at the appropriate administrative level and as proximate as possible to those affected national level or Community level?

15 2. increasing community-level co-operation( ) the emergence of supra-national policy prominent role of real-european bodies European Court of Justice: pro-european jurisprudence European Parliament: tries to overcome flaccid powers European Commission gained momentum and boldness mainly: creating rules of fair competition areas of great centrality to national education policy clearly remained the responsibility of the Member States

16 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis (1992-) Treaty on European Union goal of 1992 could not be reached 2 IGCs led to amendment of basic treaties inclusion of education in Treaty on EU programmes existed (budget) legal basis needed element in social and economic policy

17 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) restriction of the EU s authority responsibility of the Member States undesirability of harmonization strict definition of fields of authority of the EU e.g. encouraging mobility of students and teachers; facilitating access to vocational training clearly set-out procedures - co-operation procedure - codecision procedure

18 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) extension of authority still possible how to define action if necessary how to define incentive measures two broad objectives - developing the European dimension in education - developing quality education

19 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) a new generation of programmes general framework to increase mutual impact and interactivity confirming previous action programmes covering all levels of education SOCRATES - codecision procedure - balance between centralised and decentralised action (difficult!) LEONARDO - co-operation procedure - decentralised action

20 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) other programmes and policies international co-operation e.g. EEA, ALFA, EU-China, EU-India academic recognition no other way than improving mutual knowledge, trust, and voluntary cooperation musing on the delights of further extension of activities

21 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) deepening and widening Treaty of Amsterdam - evaluation of Treaty on EU on IGC - introduction of flexibility (possibility of differentiation between Member States) Agenda applicant countries - prepare both parties for anticipated changes strengthening internal policies flows on to education and vocational training outlined in Towards a Europe of Knowledge

22 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) six lines of action traditional actions physical mobility co-operation networks language skills new actions virtual mobility innovation (pilot projects) sources of reference

23 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) programmes and policies SOCRATES II LEONARDO II creating a European area for education by pursuing the six lines of action remained within the limits of Treaty TEMPUS III prepares applicant countries to take over the acquis communautaire recommendation on HE s quality promoting networking (not: creating a European Quality Assurance Network)

24 3. towards an equilibrium sui generis? (1992-) contradicting tendencies integration continued Member States voluntarily adopted the Treaty on European Union Treaty included chapter on education previous programmes and right of EU to act accepted and legalised Member States remained the most important actors authority of EU strictly defined programmes within limits of the treaty

25 Conclusion common characteristics of programmes importance of areas in which EU can act without infringing core education policies of Member States based on - mobility - networking - language proficiency - voluntary co-operation - bottom-up approach conditions attached to funding make convergence inevitable

26 Conclusion importance of supra-national level increased citizens can invoke European rights, counter to national legislation HE institutions can participate in Eur. programmes at their own discretion EU has right to develop incentive programmes without assent of all Member States but not for core responsibilities of nation-state EU is competitive market rather than substitute for nation-state nation-states only aggregate certain functions

27 Conclusion an equilibrium sui generis? unpredictable factors enlargement flexibility dynamic relations Member States EU bodies within the EU conflicting tendencies further integration and key role for nation-states Millward: nation-states do not wither, but reach key stage

28 Conclusion an equilibrium sui generis? unpredictable factors dynamic relations conflicting tendencies outcome? condominio a multiple Europe multiple regional institutions acting with relative autonomy to solve common problems and produce different public goods? Committee of the Regions? concept of flexibility

29

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