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Working group to find solution for Austrian admissions problem

An EU working group will be set up to find a solution for Austria’s problem with the high influx of students from neighbouring Germany - this is the outcome of a visit of European Commissioner for Education and Culture Jan Figel to Vienna earlier this month. Austria is still struggling to find a long-term solution for the admission of international students, after, on 7 July 2005, the European Court of Justice banned the former practice to only admit foreign students if they could provide evidence of being granted a study place in their home country (see ACA July Newsletter).

Figel voiced strong doubts over the proposal of Austrian Education Minister Elizabeth Gehrer, who had suggested the introduction of quota for international students. He believed that such a model would not be approved by the European Court of Justice. The European Commission however underlined that it would support Austria in finding a “non-discriminating solution”. The working group would not only look into degree student mobility but also deal with related issues, like the portability of grants and loans. It would consist of representatives from Austria, the European Commission and other concerned countries.

Although it is probably the “hottest”, Austria’s case is not an isolated one:

Marie-Dominique Simonet, the Minister of Higher Education of the French-speaking part of Belgium, has told the Belgium newspaper La Libre Belgique that she intends to introduce limited access to the most concerned subjects of those foreign students who have not been resident in Belgium for a certain time. The Minister reacts to figures published early this month, according to which 87 percent of first year enrolments in veterinary sciences earned their secondary school diploma outside Belgium.

Austrian representation in Brussels, ORF
La Libre Belgique