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The end of December is approaching, and with it the end of the EU Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which was held by Lithuania from 1 July 2013 onwards. It has been the first Presidency for the Baltic state since its EU accession in 2004.
Lithuania stipulated as its main priorities the finalisation of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), further steps concerning energy security, support for the EU’s Baltic Sea region strategy, a stronger and more active involvement within the framework of the Eastern Partnership with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the effective protection of EU borders’ management. Although higher education and research as such were not necessarily among the key priorities, Lithuania showed its commitment towards the internationalisation of higher education and research by hosting important conferences with stakeholders and experts invited to Vilnius, its capital city (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2013).
Waiting in the wings, the Greek government is ready to take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 January 2014 onwards. Among its key priorities it had declared:
With regard to education, the Greek government announced the intention to put a strong focus on quality assurance, effective and innovative training and education, the EU multidimensional higher education ranking system U-Multirank, the potential of MOOCs and the issue of skills mismatch with regard to labour market demands (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, November 2013). However, it still remains to be seen to which extent higher education and research will play a role during the upcoming Greek Presidency.