On 19 June 1999, 29 Ministers1 in charge of higher education signed a declaration at a meeting in Bologna to establish a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 and promote a European system of higher education worldwide. The aim of the Declaration is to make the higher education systems in Europe converge towards a more transparent system, whereby the different national systems would use a common framework. The Ministers affirmed in the Bologna Declaration their intention to:
Since 1999 there have been a number of follow up meetings between the Ministers to assess progress towards the creation of the EHEA.
Eight further countries joined the Declaration and three new action lines were added:
It was decided that there would be a focus on three intermediate priorities for the following two years:
Ministers also decided to go beyond the focus of two main cycles of higher education to include the doctoral level as the third cycle and to establish links between the European Higher Education and Research Areas. This became a new Action Line:
It was decided that by the time of the London summit in May 2007, Ministers would be looking for progress in:
This summit meeting led to the adoption of the London Communiqué - Towards the European Higher Education Area: responding to challenges in a globalised world. The communiqué took stock of the progress to date and set priorities for the 2009 summit in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve hosted by the Benelux countries. Priorities included:
The number of signatory countries has risen to 46.2
The most recent Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process was hosted by the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) on 28-29 April 2009 in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium). It particularly highlighted the importance of widening access to higher education, lifelong learning, and mobility.
Further information about the Benelux summit is available:http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/conference/
All communiqués and related progress reports to date are available from the Bologna-Bergen website, currently operated by the Benelux Bologna Secretariat.
A detailed explanation of the Bologna Declaration is available from the European Commission, and a useful policy summary from Universities UK's Europe Unit.
1 Austria - Belgium- Bulgaria - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - the Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Romania - Slovak Republic - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Swiss Confederation - United Kingdom.
2 Albania - Andorra - Armenia -Austria - Azerbaijan - Belgium - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Georgia - Germany - Greece - Holy See - Hungary - Iceland - Ireland - Italy - Latvia - Liechtenstein - Lithuania - Luxembourg - Malta - Montenegro - Moldova - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Portugal - Macedonia - Romania - Russia - Serbia - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Turkey - Ukraine - UK.
Last reviewed May 2009