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European Council adopts conclusions on Brexit and sets new priorities

In the last European Council, held on 14 and 15 December, some important decisions were taken. Among other things, the EU-27 leaders assessed the progress of Brexit negotiations and agreed it was sufficient to move to the next phase.  

The phase 1 of the negotiations marked a very important step forward for the academic world, as negotiators agreed that EU citizens currently living in the UK (and vice versa) will have their rights to live, work and study protected. This agreement was published on 8 December in the form of a joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK government, but it needed the backup of the European Council in order to become effective. 

In the field of education, the discussion built on the Social Summit which took place in Gothenburg in November 2017. As a result, the European Council agreed to set the following priorities: 

  • Making the Erasmus+ programme broader and more inclusive;
  • Strengthening strategic partnerships across the EU between higher education institutions and encouraging the emergence by 2024 of some twenty 'European Universities'; 
  • Ensuring that more young people speak at least two foreign European languages;
  • Promoting cooperation on mutual recognition of higher education and school leaving diplomas at secondary education level.