Bologna Process

Creation of the European Higher Education Area

Bologna process is the process of creation of the European Higher Education Area. The process started on June 19, 1999 when 29 European Ministers responsible for higher education signed the Bologna declaration in which they undertake to create a European Higher Education Area that should be completed by 2010.

The main objectives of the Bologna declaration are to increase the mobility and employability of European higher education graduates, thus, ensuring competitiveness of European higher education on the world scale.

Fully respecting the richness of the European cultural diversity and thus also the diversity of higher education systems, Bologna declaration seeks to articulate the European higher education around two main cycles. Employability of graduates should be ensured already after the first cycle.

Mobility of graduates around the whole European Higher Education Area is only possible if recognition of degrees earned is ensured. This is supposed to be done through increasing transparency of educational systems and trust among the educational systems that in turn will be based upon quality assurance of programmes and institutions.

Issuing of the Joint European Diploma Supplement to all graduates and usage of a credit system (ECTS or compatible) are seen as the main tools for transparency. While the European Credit transfer System (ECTS) in the past was used only for credit transfer, after spending a study period at another institution, it should now become a credit accumulation system. Besides credit accumulation in regular higher education programmes, such system should also provide possibilities to gain credits within informal and non-formal education, thus taking on board lifelong learning.

Bologna declaration aims to increase mobility of students and staff across the European Higher Education Area. Achieving this goal will also require identification and solution of a number of social issues.

Addition of European dimension to programmes is another tool for reaching the Bologna goals. Establishing joint programmes and offering degrees by institutions from different countries seems to support reaching several goals of Bologna declaration and will therefore be further developed. The ministers have decided to meet every two years to:
  • reconfirm the objectives,
  • analyze the results and
  • set guidelines for the next period.
The first ministerial meeting after Bologna, took place in Prague on May 17, 2001, the second in Berlin on 19 September, 2003 the third in Bergen on 19-20 May 2005, the 4th meeting took place in London on May 18, 2007 and the fifth one in Leuven/Lounain at Belgium on 28-29 April 2009. The sixth ministerial meeting took place in Budapest and Vienna on 11-12 March 2010 and the seventh in Bucharest on 26-27 April 2012. The next ministerial meeting will take place in Yerevan of Armenia in 2015. The current decade will be aimed at consolidating the EHEA.

The Bologna Declaration

On 19 June 1999, one year after the Sorbonne Declaration, the ministers responsible for higher education from 29 European countries signed the Bologna Declaration, in which they agreed on important joint objectives for the development of a coherent and cohesive European Higher Education Area by 2010. The six main goals defined in the Bologna Declaration:
  • a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, including the implementation of the Diploma Supplement;
  • a system essentially based on two main cycles:
  • a first cycle relevant to the labour market;
  • a second cycle requiring the completion of the first cycle;
  • a system of accumulation and transfer of credits;
  • the mobility of students, teachers, researchers, etc;
  • cooperation in quality assurance;
  • the European dimension of higher education.
The Bologna Declaration

The Prague Communiqué

On 19 May 2001, ministers met in Prague to review the progress achieved and to set out directions and priorities for the next stages of the Process. 32 signatories were represented. The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the objective of establishing the European Higher Education Area by 2010. The choice of Prague as the venue for the meeting was symbolic of a willingness to involve the whole of Europe in the Process.

The Prague Communiqué

The Berlin Communiqué

On 19 September 2003, ministers responsible for higher education from 33 European countries met in Berlin. With a view to speeding up the realisation of the European Higher Education Area, they agreed on a number of principles and priorities and set the course for the period leading up to the next Ministerial Conference in Bergen. The ministers agreed inter alia that all member countries should ratify the Lisbon Recognition Convention before the Bergen meeting.

The Bergen Communiqué

Ministers responsible for higher education in 45 European countries met in Bergen on 19-20 May 2005.  Ministers took stock of the progress of the Bologna Process and set directions for the further development towards the European Higher Education Area to be realised by 2010. In the Bergen communique it is assured that important progress has been achieved as far as the goals of the Process are concerned. This is shown in the general report for 2003-2005 of the monitoring committee. The ministers wish the attainment of progress until 2007, which is the date of their next meeting mainly for (a) implementation of the standards and guidelines for quality assurance as proposed in the ENQA report; (b) implementation of the national frameworks for qualifications; (c) the awarding and recognition of joint degrees, including at the doctorate level; (d) creating opportunities for flexible learning paths in higher education, including procedures for the recognition of prior learning.

The Berlin Communiqué

The London Communiqué

During the London Comunique the Ministers responsible for Higher Education in the countries participating in the Bologna Process, reviewed the progress made since Bergen in 2005. The Minsters were pleased to notehat the developments over the last two years were a significant step closer to the realization of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). They reaffirmed their commitment to the increasing compatibility of the European higher education systems and underlined the importance of strong institutions which are diverse, adequately funded, autonomous and accountable. The priorities for 2009 were also set, in the following areas of action: mobility, social dimension, data collection, employability, the European Higher Education Area in a global context. The next meeting will be hosted by the Benelux countries in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve on 28-29 April 2009.

The London Communiqué

Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Communique

On April 28 and 29, 2009, the Ministers responsible for Higher Education in the 46 countries of the Bologna Process  met in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium to take stock of the achievements of the Bologna Process  and to establish the priorities for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for the next decade. 
The European Higher Education Area has been developed over the last decade and it is characterized by permanent cooperation between the governments, higher education institutions, students, staff, employers and other stakeholders.    The objectives set out by the Bologna Declaration and the policies developed in the subsequent years are still valid today.  Since not all the objectives have been completely achieved, the full and proper implementation of these objectives at European, national and institutional level will require increased momentum and commitment beyond 2010.

Το Communique του Λουβέν
Statement by the Bologna Policy Forum 2009

Budapest - Vienna Declaration

The ministers responsible for Higher Education met in Budapest – Vienna on the 11-12 of March 2010 for the anniversary of the 10 years since the Bologna Declaration. The ministers reviewed the progress made in Higher Education in these ten years and reassured their dedication on the Bologna Declaration objectives.

Budapest - Vienna Declaration on the European Higher Education Area
The Bologna Process Independent Assessment

Bucharest Communique

At the ministerial conference of the countries participating in the Bologna Process held on 26 and 27 April 2012 at Bucharest in Rumania, the ministers proceeded to review the progress of the implementation of the Bologna Process. The ministers also defined the core issues of policy regarding the Bologna Process. Moreover, the adopted the Bucharest Ministerial Communiquee as well as the EHEA Mobility Strategy. Finally, they committed themselves to promote the targets of the Bologna Process till 2020. The next ministerial meeting will be hosted by Armenia in Yerevan in 2015.

Bucharest Communique 2012
2012 EHEA Mobility Strategy

National Reports

The Bologna Process signatory countries submit national reports to report their progress towards the objectives of the Process.

National Reports of Cyprus for 2012
National Reports of Cyprus for 2009
National Reports of Cyprus for 2007

Useful Links

Bologna Process
The European Higher Education Area in 2012: Bologna Process Implementation Report