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On 27 March, the European Commission published a new higher education package, including proposals for Council Recommendations on a European recognition and quality assurance (QA) system and attractive careers, as well as a Communication on the building blocks towards a European Degree.

The European University Association (EUA) welcomes the call for full implementation of EU and Bologna Process tools that have already been agreed to in relation to QA and recognition. EUA also appreciates the call for streamlined and fit-for-purpose processes for joint educational offer (such as joint programmes) and other types of collaborative initiatives, such as within the European Universities alliances. Similarly, the successful introduction of a European Degree, whether as a label or a fully-fledged new degree type, hinges first and foremost on the implementation, across Europe, of the tools and instruments related to joint programmes that already exist. However, EUA wishes to underline the importance of advancing with the implementation to all agreed reforms in the entire European Higher Education Area, and not only within the EU.

In relation to academic careers, EUA is pleased to see a renewed commitment to parity of esteem between the different tasks carried out by academics within the three university missions: learning and teaching; research; and service to society. The Association particularly appreciates the call for more and better training opportunities for teaching staff, both within their initial training and throughout their careers, including in digitalisation and innovative teaching and learning methods. The Commission also calls for encouragement, recognition and reward of teachers’ engagement in international activities. It is well known that such activities can be highly beneficial to both institutions and their students, but often take significant time, effort and skill to develop. EUA wishes to underscore that the diversity of international activities, within or outside of those supported by the European Commission, should be recognised in order to achieve the goal of international experience for all graduates, with the potential European Degree being only one of them.

Next, EU member states meet in the Council of the EU to discuss the Commission's proposals and decide if and to what extent they will be taken forward as formal Council Recommendations.

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