What is the Bologna Process?
It established the European Higher Education Area to facilitate student and staff mobility, make higher education more inclusive and accessible and make higher education in Europe more attractive and competitive worldwide.
As part of the European Higher Education Area, all participating countries agreed to:
Why is the Bologna Process important?
Under the Bologna Process, European governments discuss higher education policy reforms and strive to overcome obstacles to create a European Higher Education Area.
Bologna reform is key to building the necessary trust for successful learning mobility, cross-border academic cooperation and the mutual recognition of study periods and qualifications earned abroad. Enhancing the quality and relevance of learning and teaching is also a core mission of the Bologna Process. Implementation of these reforms is, however, uneven across the 48 participating countries.
The Bologna Process also provides a forum for dialogue with neighbouring countries regarding higher education reforms and questions related to shared academic principles, such as universities’ independence and students’ participation in civil society activities. It has become a virtual space for soft diplomacy with neighbouring countries in the Western Balkans (except Kosovo), Eastern Partnership countries, Turkey and Russia, and many other countries.
What is the EU doing to support higher education reform?
Since the launch of the Erasmus programme some 30 years ago, the Commission, together with national authorities, higher education institutions, students and other stakeholders, triggered more intense and structured cooperation among European higher education institutions.
As the demand for student mobility increased, it became clear how difficult it was for single institutions to recognise study periods across different national higher education systems with divergent degree structures and other academic traditions.
The Bologna Process, starting with the Sorbonne and Bologna Declarations, was the response of national governments to the challenges arising from the mobility of European students and graduates.
The Commission is a full member of the Bologna Follow-up Group and its board, which supports the implementation of the decisions of the Bologna Ministerial Conferences.
Much progress has been made in reforming higher education systems in the EU Member States and beyond, as indicated by regular implementation reports.
Education Ministers have also adopted the Paris Communiqué , highlighting priority activities in this area for the coming years. The Communiqué outlines the joint vision of education ministers from 48 European countries for a more ambitious European Higher Education Area by 2020.
It calls for:
In addition, the Communiqué outlines the need for better support to enable vulnerable and underrepresented groups to access and excel in higher education. These ambitions are in line with the goal of the EU to create a European Education Area by 2025 to promote mobility and the academic recognition of qualifications for all EU citizens.
The next Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process will take place in June 2020 in Rome.
For more information on the role of the EU in the development of the Bologna Process and its progress towards the creation of a European Higher Education Area, see the brochure The EU in support of the Bologna Process.