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According to Commissioner Figel’, a key feature that links these two issues together is the belief that learning, research and innovation are fundamental for the future of Europe’s economies and societies. Along these lines, the Commission calls for a new type of partnership. A partnership where universities take charge of their programmes, resources and outcomes, while public authorities take responsibility for the orientation of the higher–education system as a whole.
Further, the Commissioner noted that Europe’s universities need higher and more efficient funding. In particular, Member States should stimulate private funding and ensure that fair access for all deserving students is guaranteed. In regards to excellence, the European Institute of Technology—or EIT was introduced as a tool to help identify and sustain networks of excellence; to help enable universities to naturally diversify and to stand out in what they are best at. The Commissioner promised that “we will pursue this idea only if it serves to bring together the best brains and the best companies in a world–class environment with a distinctively European character”.
The Commission services launched a public consultation via the Internet in mid-September and the consultation is open until the 15th of November. In closing, the Commissioner acknowledged that “ultimately, universities are crucial for bringing our process of integration beyond the economy and into a union of values, ideals, and common political objectives”.Commission press release - Wroclaw University of Technology