European Higher Education Area

The EU contribution to the European Higher Education Area

Source: The EU contribution to the European Higher Education Area, European Commission, Publications Office of the European Union Luxembourg, 2010

In 1999, the Ministers in charge of higher education from 29 European countries agreed to introduce a set of reforms in their national higher education systems with a view to setting up a European Higher Education Area by 2010. This is called the Bologna Declaration. The Declaration set in motion a series of actions to make European higher education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for Europe’s citizens and for students and scholars from other continents.

For many years, the European Commission has been supporting the Bologna Process. Its objectives are fully in line with the EU’s modernisation agenda for universities. The Bologna vision of a European Higher Education Area without borders owes a great deal to the Erasmus mobility programme, launched in 1987, and to related EU initiatives and tools such as the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. In turn, the Bologna Process has inspired many EU initiatives in the area of higher education.

In 2015, we can look back at one and a half decade of intensive reforms all across Europe. It is true that in some areas not all objectives have yet been fully realized but the European Higher Education Area has become a reality. This was possible because European governments have committed themselves to taking a European approach to the modernisation of their national higher education systems.

A lot has been achieved during the first decade of Bologna, but for the European Higher Education Area to become fully operational, further substantial efforts from governments, institutions, students and staff are needed. Good progress has been made so far, as can be seen in several EU surveys, such as the Bologna Stocktaking Reports, the Eurydice reports on Bologna, EUA (Trends Reports) and ESU (Bologna with Student Eyes).

There is strong commitment at national, regional and institutional levels to maintain this momentum. The EU has played an important role in supporting this process until now and will continue its support in those areas where synergies can be expected between the EU’s policy objectives and those of the European Higher Education Area.

Bologna action lines and reference tools

Bologna Declaration (1999)

  • 1. Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees
  • 2. Adoption of a system essentially based on bachelor/master
  • 3. Establishment of a system of credits
  • 4. Promotion of mobility
  • 5. Promotion of European cooperation in quality assurance
  • 6. Promotion of the European dimension in higher Education

Prague Communiqué (2001)

  • 7. Lifelong learning
  • 8. Higher education institutions and students
  • 9. Promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area

Berlin Communiqué (2003)

  • 10. European Higher Education Area and European Research Area – two pillars of the knowledge based society

After Berlin, no new action lines were identified, but some important reference tools were put in place:

Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (Bergen 2005) – linked to the EQF for lifelong learning (EU 2007)
Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (Bergen 2005)
European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) (London 2007)
Strategy on The European Higher Education Area in a Global Setting (London 2007)
Mobility benchmark for 2020 (Leuven/ Louvain-la-Neuve 2009)
Benchmark for widened participation by 2020 (Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve 2009)


Policy, programmes and tools

Information portals


  • ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education):
  • EUA (European University Association):
  • EURASHE (European Association of Institutions of Higher Education):
  • ESU (European Students’ Union):

International organisations in the Bologna Process

Latest news

March 28, 2017 09:23

The Summer University on Hungarian Language and Culture at Eötvös Loránd University prepared a present for Spring to those who are interested in Hungarian language and culture.

March 13, 2017 13:52
Semmelweis University is among the best according to the QS world rankings

Semmelweis University has been ranked as 262nd according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking list, on the basis of which our university has achieved the best result in the field of life sciences and medicine among Hungarian higher-education institutions. The ranking position of Semmelweis University is better with 54 ranking places this year as opposed to last year’s ranking result. In the field of medical education Semmelweis University is ranked among the best 200 institutions, and it is among the best 150 in the area of pharmaceutical education according to the QS 2017 ranking.

In the field of life sciences and medicine altogether three Hungarian universities are listed: Semmelweis University is ranked as 262nd, Debrecen University is ranked as 401-450 and the University of Szeged is ranked as 451-500. Regarding the area of medical education: Semmelweis University is ranked as 151-200, Debrecen University is ranked as 201-250, the University of Pécs is ranked as 251-300 and the University of Szeged is ranked as 301-350. The rankings in the category of pharmaceutical education are as follows: Semmelweis University is ranked as 101-150, Debrecen University is ranked as 151-200 and the University of Szeged is ranked as 201-250.

This international ranking list was prepared with the consideration of four aspects: the reputation of the university in the scientific world, assessment of the employees, the frequency of the citation of the university’s scientific works and h-index citations.

Eszter Keresztes
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translated by: Katalin Romhányi

March 13, 2017 13:51
Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Tokyo Medical University

The delegation of Tokyo Medical University visited Semmelweis University on February 24-25, 2017, in the framework of which the collaboration has been reinforced on three different levels between the two institutions. Besides the Memorandum of Understanding a Sister Agreement as well as a Student Exchange Agreement were also signed by the representatives of both universities.

The members of the Japanese delegation, led by Dr. Mamoru Suzuki, President of Tokyo Medical University, were Dr. Miki Izumi, Professor of Medical Education, Ms. Aya Nagata, Coordinator of the Student Exchange Program and Dr. Mária Mernyei, Professor, who provided a lot of support in the organization of the delegation’s visit. The representatives of Tokyo Medical University were welcomed at Semmelweis University by Dr. Ágoston Szél, Rector, Dr. Miklós Molnár, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. József Sándor, Scientific Advisor of the Department of Surgical Research and Techniques, Dr. Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations and Dr. Judit Vadlövő, Project Coordinator of the Directorate of International Relations.

After a warm welcome Rector Szél said that he considers this visit very important, since the agreements signed during the discussion provide an opportunity for both Japanese and Hungarian students to study abroad in the framework of a training programme. Rector Szél expressed his gratitude to H.E. Dr. Kosuge Junichi, Ambassador of Japan in Hungary, who participated in the official discussion and the signing process together with Ms. Yoshiko Okamoto, Second Secretary of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Hungary. As Rector Szél pointed out, the presence of His Excellency at the discussion unquestionably proved the high level of Japanese-Hungarian relations.

Dr. Kosuge Junichi talked about the undergoing process of the reinforcement of Japanese-Hungarian political and economic relations, and he expressed his appreciation that this is also manifested in the academic relations.

Dr. Mamoru Suzuki, President of Tokyo Medical University, also highlighted the significance of the signing of these agreements: according to him the collaboration now has become official between the two institutions.

Dr. Miklós Molnár talked about the fact that more and more Japanese students study at Semmelweis University and he expressed his hope that Hungarian students will soon also have an opportunity to study in Japan. Dr. Molnár also said that our institution will be pleased to have Japanese professors as lecturers at Semmelweis University.

Dr. József Sándor emphasized among other things that both institutions have the same principles and purposes: a well-operating patient care system.

At the end of the discussion the leaders of both universities officially signed the Memorandum of Understanding, a Sister Agreement as well as a Student Exchange Agreement. These agreements contain regulations regarding the mutual student-, researcher- and staff exchange programme, the exchange of information between the two institutions as well as the organization of common lectures and seminars. The agreement related to the exchange of medical students provides the opportunity for the following: both universities to send and receive 2-2 graduating students for clinical training during one academic year, for maximum 8 weeks per student.

After the discussion and the official signing of the agreements the Japanese delegation visited the 1st Department of Pathology and Experimental Cancer Research, where Dr. András Matolcsy, Director, welcomed the representatives of Tokyo Medical University. The delegation also visited the Heart and Vascular Centre, where they were welcomed by Dr. György Bárczi, Senior Lecturer. Dr. Bárczi introduced the facilities and the daily work of the Centre to our Japanese guests in details.

Pálma Dobozi
Source: Directorate of International Relations
Photo: Gábor Ancsin
Translated by: Katalin Romhányi