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After the French no to the European constitution, the French Government has been « reshuffled »: Gilles de Robien has been appointed Minister of Education, succeeding François Fillon, who had taken up this position only 14 months ago. Prior to his appointment as Education Minister, Robien was in charge of the Ministry of Transport, a post he had held since May 2002. Robien, originally a lawyer and insurance agent, has been active in politics for 20 years. He became famous in 1996 as the author of the so-called "Robien Act" on the reform and reduction of working hours.
One of the last acts of the outgoing Education Minister François Fillon was to create the legal basis for French universities to award joint degrees: a French higher education institution can establish a joint degree programme with a foreign institution and award a joint degree, provided that the French institution and the degrees it awards are accredited by the French government. The foreign institution, in turn, must have the right to award a degree at the same level and in the same field in its respective country.