Jun 14, 2024 | European Focus

A blueprint for a European degree, recently announced by the European Commission, now paves the way for a new type of joint programme, delivered on a voluntary basis at national, regional, or institutional level, and based on a common set of criteria agreed at European level.

The Commission proposes a co-operation path between EU Member States and the higher education sector towards the creation of a European degree recognised automatically across the EU.

In view of the diversity of the European higher education systems across Europe, the Commission proposes a gradual approach, with two possible entry points:

* A Preparatory European Label: This would provide a strong European branding. It would be given to joint degree programmes which meet the proposed European criteria: students receive a European degree label certificate together with their joint degree.

* A European Degree: This new type of qualification would be based on the common criteria and be anchored in national legislation. It would be awarded either jointly by several universities from different countries or possibly by a European legal entity established by such universities: students receive a ‘European degree’ that is automatically recognised.

The Commission has pledged to facilitate and support EU Member States to work towards the European degree through several concrete actions, including a European degree policy lab. This will be supported by the Erasmus+ programme, to be set up in 2025, and aims to engage member states and the higher education community to develop guidelines towards the European degree.

In 2025, the Commission plans to launch ‘European Degree Pathway Projects’ within the Erasmus+ programme to provide financial incentives for Member States, together with their accreditation and quality assurance agencies, universities, students, economic and social partners, to engage in the pathway towards a European degree.

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