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Modernising universities and competitiveness: new Council resolution

On 23 November, the Council of the European Union’s Competitiveness Council adopted a new resolution on Modernising universities for Europe’s competitiveness in a global economy. This resolution was first adopted by the Education Youth and Culture Council and then passed on for final adoption by the Competitiveness Council (sub councils of the EU Council). A reiteration of the previous Council commitment in March 2007 that highlighted education, research and innovation as pillars of the Lisbon Strategy, the resolution echoes the past European Commission Communications:

• The role of universities in a Europe of knowledge (2003);
• Mobilising the brainpower of Europe: enabling European universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon Strategy (2005);
• Delivering on the modernisation agenda for universities: Education, Research, and Innovation (2006).

The resolution itself does not come up with anything surprising or new, yet emphasizes once again how modernising higher education and research drives European competitiveness. Of interest, it invites the Commission to:

  • identify obstacles that EU higher education institutions face in modernising;
  • study the effects of Erasmus Mundus on international attractiveness;
  • study the social background of students participating in Erasmus and the effect Erasmus has on modernisation;
  • address obstacles to mobility of students, teachers, and researchers.

One can notice a particular interest in evaluating the effects of current EU education programmes on the European attractiveness and competitiveness agenda.