The EHEA is a unique international collaboration on higher education and the result of the political will of 48 countries with different political, cultural and academic traditions, which, step by step during the last twenty years, built an area implementing a common set of commitments: structural reforms and shared tools.
These 48 countries agree to and adopt reforms on higher education on the basis of common key values – such as freedom of expression, autonomy for institutions, independent student unions, academic freedom, free movement of students and staff.
Through this process, countries, institutions and stakeholders of the European area continuously adapt their higher education systems making them more compatible and strengthening their quality assurance mechanisms.
For all these countries, the main goal is to:
Increase staff and students’ mobility and to facilitate employability
The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was launched along with the Bologna Process’ decade anniversary, in March 2010, during the Budapest-Vienna Ministerial Conference.
As the main objective of the Bologna Process since its inception in 1999, the EHEA was meant to ensure more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. Between 1999–2010, all the efforts of the Bologna Process members were targeted to creating the European Higher Education Area, which became reality with the Budapest-Vienna Declaration of March 2010. In order to join the EHEA, a country must sign and ratify the European Cultural Convention treaty.
Participating member states of the European Higher Education Area include:
Countries eligible to join:
The Bologna Process is a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher-education qualifications. The process has created the European Higher Education Area under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the University of Bologna, where the Bologna declaration was signed by education ministers from 29 European countries in 1999. The process was opened to other countries in the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, and governmental meetings have been held in Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005), London (2007) and Leuven (2009).
Before the signing of the Bologna declaration, the Magna Charta Universitatum was issued at a meeting of university rectors celebrating the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna and European universities in 1988. One year before the declaration, education ministers Claude Allegre (France), Jürgen Rüttgers (Germany), Luigi Berlinguer (Italy) and Baroness Blackstone (UK) signed the Sorbonne declaration in Paris in 1998, committing themselves to “harmonising the architecture of the European Higher Education system”. The Bologna Process has 48 participating countries.
Signatories of the Bologna Accord, members of the European Higher Education Area, are:
All member states of the EU are participating in the process, with the European Commission also a signatory. Monaco and San Marino are the only members of the Council of Europe which did not adopt the process.
The ESU, EUA, EURASHE, EI, ENQA, UNICE, the Council of Europe and UNESCO are part of the process’ follow-up. Other groups at this level are ENIC, NARIC and EURODOC.