Brussels wants to move forward with a European diploma for greater international attractiveness

Reflection is progressing on the subject of a “European diploma” recognized between EU universities. The European Commission, which has long wanted to move forward on the subject, asked voluntary faculties on Wednesday to examine concrete proposals.



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A European diploma would allow you to validate your bachelor's, master's and doctoral qualifications at the European level.  (GARDEL BERTRAND / HEMIS.FR / HEMIS via AFP)

The diploma would be awarded “either jointly by several universities from different countries, or possibly by a legal entity created by these universities”, according to the Commission, all this is still under study. Brussels has been putting pressure on the subject since 2020 and presented, on Wednesday March 27, some very concrete proposals to the faculties which agree to move in the direction of creating a joint diploma.

This may come as a surprise, but today there is no automatic recognition of diplomas within the European Union. A student from Nantes or Paris with a master’s degree in business law will have great difficulty getting it recognized in the Netherlands or Italy. The process is very tedious and can take several years.

Criteria to co-opt

The idea is therefore to create a European diploma for three levels – bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate, which would allow everyone to have their acquired knowledge validated by another European university without any particular procedure. This would greatly facilitate mobility. On paper it seems quite simple, but in reality it is much less so. Education is a national responsibility, which falls under the jurisdiction of the States. Brussels cannot impose anything, so the universities must first agree among themselves.

There are already convergences in certain courses, cooperations such as Erasmus, which allows you to spend several months abroad. In total, more than 140 higher education establishments are involved in this type of project. But nothing is organized at European level as a whole. We still do not evaluate programs in the same way, even though this is a request from students, universities and also employers.

EU competitiveness

The Commission’s objective is to make European higher education more competitive, to attract foreign students, and to strengthen the attractiveness of graduates to future employers. The Commissioner responsible for Education, Iliana Ivanova, defends herself from an elitist approach which would aim to create “super-universities”. She sees this project as a way to boost the competitiveness of the European Union and ensure Europe’s place “in the global race for talent”.

For now, everything has to be done. States and the various higher education stakeholders have several months ahead of them to study the Commission’s proposals. But the vice-president, Margaritis Schinas, has no doubts. “In a few yearshe said, this European diploma will have its place alongside the Schengen area, the single market and the euro, among the concrete achievements of Europe.”

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