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Bologna news: Ministerial Meeting 2009 to be held in Benelux

In its October 2006 gathering, the Bologna Follow-up Group (the most important decision-making body on the European Higher education Area between Ministerial Meetings) prepared important decisions for the further course of the Bologna Process. It decided, by a rather narrow vote, to entrust the Benelux countries with the running of Bologna Secretariat (the “Bologna Presidency”) after the London Ministerial Meeting (and up to 2009) and the organisation of the 2009 Ministerial Meeting. The joint bid of the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) carried 37 votes, with contenders Croatia (27) and Slovakia (8) coming second and third respectively. According to sources, it is planned to hold the 2009 meeting in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve. These decisions still need to be endorsed by the ministers in London.

Further, the group approved of Montenegro’s application for full membership, and proposed to the education ministers of member countries to officially admit the Balkan country during its upcoming May 2007 meeting. Observers also expect an application from the Kosovo in the coming months. The discussions of the October meeting further dealt with the issue of the Bologna Process after 2010. The year 2010 is the official deadline for the accomplishment of the Bologna goals, but it is apparent that not all of the reforms will have been implemented by then.