on the European Higher Education Area
1. We, the Ministers responsible for higher education in the countries participating in
the Bologna Process, met in Budapest and Vienna on March 11 and 12,2010 to launch
the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), as envisaged in the Bologna Declaration
2. Based on our agreed criteria for country membership, we welcome Kazakhstan as
new participating country of the European Higher Education Area.
3. The Bologna Declaration in 1999 set out a vision for 2010 of an internationally
competitive and attractive European Higher Education Area where higher education
institutions, supported by strongly committed staff, can fulfil their diverse missions in
the knowledge society; and where students benefiting from mobility with smooth and
fair recognition of their qualifications, can find the best suited educational pathways.
4. Since 1999,47 parties to the European Cultural Convention, have signed up to
this vision and have made significant progress towards achieving it. In a unique
partnership between public authorities, higher education institutions, students and
staff, together with employers, quality assurance agencies, international organisations
and European institutions, we have engaged in a series of reforms to build a European
Higher Education Area based on trust, cooperation and respect for the diversity of
cultures, languages, and higher education systems.
5. The Bologna Process and the resulting European Higher Education Area, being
unprecedented examples of regional, cross-border cooperation in higher education,
have raised considerable interest in other parts of the world and made European
higher education more visible on the global map. We welcome this interest and look
forward to intensifying our policy dialogue and cooperation with partners across the
6. We have taken note of the independent assessment and the stakeholders’ reports.
We welcome their affirmation that institutions of higher education, staff and students
increasingly identify with the goals of the Bologna Process. While much has been
achieved in implementing the Bologna reforms, the reports also illustrate that EHEA
action lines such as degree and curriculum reform, quality assurance, recognition,
mobility and the social dimension are implemented to varying degrees. Recent
protests in some countries, partly directed against developments and measures not
related to the Bologna Process, have reminded us that some of the Bologna aims and
reforms have not been properly implemented and explained. We acknowledge and will
listen to the critical voices raised among staff and students. We note that adjustments
and further work, involving staff and students, are necessary at European, national,
and especially institutional levels to achieve the European Higher Education Area as
we envisage it.
7. We, the Ministers, are committed to the full and proper implementation of the
agreed objectives and the agenda for the next decade set by the Leuven/Louvain-la-
Neuve Communiqué. In close cooperation with higher education institutions, staff,
students and other stakeholders, we will step up our efforts to accomplish the reforms
already underway to enable students and staff to be mobile, to improve teaching and
learning in higher education institutions, to enhance graduate employability, and to
provide quality higher education for all. At national level, we also strive to improve
communication on and understanding of the Bologna Process among all stakeholders
and society as a whole.
8. We, the Ministers, recommit to academic freedom as well as autonomy and
accountability of higher education institutions as principles of the European Higher
Education Area and underline the role the higher education institutions play in
fostering peaceful democratic societies and strengthening social cohesion.
9. We acknowledge the key role of the academic community - institutional leaders,
teachers, researchers, administrative staff and students - in making the European
Higher Education Area a reality, providing the learners with the opportunity to acquire
knowledge, skills and competences furthering their careers and lives as democratic
citizens as well as their personal development. We recognise that a more supportive
environment for the staff to fulfil their tasks, is needed. We commit ourselves to
working towards a more effective inclusion of higher education staff and students in
the implementation and further development of the EHEA. We fully support staff and
student participation in decision-making structures at European, national and
10. We call upon all actors involved to facilitate an inspiring working and learning
environment and to foster student-centred learning as a way of empowering the
learner in all forms of education, providing the best solution for sustainable and
flexible learning paths. This also requires the cooperation of teachers and researchers
in international networks.
11. We, the Ministers, reaffirm that higher education is a public responsibility. We
commit ourselves, notwithstanding these difficult economic times, to ensuring that
higher education institutions have the necessary resources within a framework
established and overseen by public authorities. We are convinced that higher
education is a major driver for social and economic development and for innovation in
an increasingly knowledge-driven world. We shall therefore increase our efforts on the
social dimension in order to provide equal opportunities to quality education, paying
particular attention to underrepresented groups.
12. We, the Ministers responsible for the European Higher Education Area, ask the
Bologna Follow-up Group to propose measures to facilitate the proper and full
implementation of the agreed Bologna principles and action lines across the European
Higher Education Area, especially at the national and institutional levels, among
others by developing additional working methods, such as peer learning, study visits
and other information sharing activities. By continuously developing, enhancing and
strengthening the European Higher Education Area and taking further the synergies
with the European Research Area, Europe will be able to successfully face the
challenges of the next decade.
13. Our next Ministerial Meeting to take stock of progress and to drive the
Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve agenda forward, will be hosted by Romania in Bucharest on
26-27 April 2012.