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EUA's Input to EU Policy Making

Universities are crucial for the future of Europe: they create knowledge, foster innovation, critical thinking, tolerance and open minds and provide the high-level skills and innovative thinking on which Europe’s future economic, social and cultural development depends. Universities strive for the long-term in addition to assuming new tasks, focusing increasingly on providing solutions to current problems in response to the growing expectations of society. They educate the global citizens of tomorrow, are motors for the economy and provide the optimal creative environment for the talented young researchers that Europe needs.

Looking to the future, universities are proactively responding to the rapid changes in the environment within which they operate; these include the impact of globalisation and new technologies on both teaching and research; and increased pressure on financial resources at a time when student numbers continue to grow, as do the costs of research.

The importance of EU investment in both higher education and research cannot be overstated if Europe wants to mobilise the potential and capacities of present and next generations of young people.

It is the ‘sine qua non’ for Europe to exit the economic crisis and achieve future prosperity.

Europe’s universities, in their rich diversity, are already major contributors to European growth and prosperity, through for example their participation in EU education and research programmes, their involvement in solving societal challenges or their broad international outreach. Still more can be achieved, and therefore it is crucial that the voice of universities is heard, individually and collectively, and their views taken into account in the growing range of European policies to which they have so much to contribute, thus supporting the development of a strong European Knowledge Society.

EUA provides input, analysis and evidence-based recommendations to European policy development. Below is a summary, by EU policy domain, of many of the areas where EUA is currently active on behalf of its membership.

Education and training

  • Erasmus + Programme
  • EU “Modernisation Agenda” and other main EU-level strategies (e.g “Rethinking education”)
  • Bologna Process/European Higher Education Area
  • Quality management and assurance
  • Enhancing Teaching and learning (including E-learning and MOOCs)
  • Rankings and transparency
  • Mobility of university students and staff
  • Skills and employability
  • Internationalisation and cooperation within Europe
  • Framework conditions for universities: particularly relating to governance, autonomy and funding

Single market: Professional Qualifications

  • EU directive relating to the recognition of qualifications for the “regulated professions” and alignment with the Bologna Process

Research and Innovation 

  • Horizon 2020 (including rules for participation and ‘Simplification Agenda”) and Innovation Union
  • European Research Area (notably through a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission, and participation in EC-led European Stakeholder platform)
  • Doctoral education/researcher training and mobility
  • Smart Specialisation strategies (please see Regional policy)
  • Collaborative research
  • Open Access and Science 2.0
  • Research Infrastructures
  • Research ethics

Regional Policy

  • Financial instruments for research: European Structural and Investment Funds
  • Smart Specialisation strategies for innovation


  • EU’s Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan – including elements relating to university research, education and training
  • European Energy Research Alliance  (EERA)

Justice and Home Affairs; Data Protection:

  • EU Data Protection regulation

External relations: Neighbourhood policy, Enlargement, Development and Cooperation, and International Trade

  • Fostering International HE/research partnerships and collaboration outside of the EU
  • International Development cooperation
  • Modernisation and development of higher education in EU Neighbouring countries
  • International trade agreements

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96