The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recalls that the advancement of higher education in Europe has been a significant concern of the Council of Europe for more than 50 years.
Article 2 of the first Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees since 1952 the right to education. A number of conventions created the basis for overcoming dividing lines in education in Europe, notably the European Convention on the Equivalence of Diplomas Leading to Admission to Universities of 1953, the European Convention on the Equivalence of Periods of University Study of 1956, the European Convention on the Academic Recognition of University Qualifications of 1959, the European Agreement on Continued Payment of Scholarships to Students Studying Abroad of 1969, the European Convention on the General Equivalence of Periods of University Study of 1990 and the current Lisbon Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region of 1997. The latter is the legal basis for the creation of a European Higher Education Area.
Within the last decade, there has been significant progress towards the development of intergovernmental co-operation on higher education in Europe, including Europe-wide accepted norms for the structure of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, for quality assurance, for increasing recognition of qualifications between European higher education institutions as well as for student and teacher mobility.
This process has been moved forward by intergovernmental processes called into being by the Bologna declaration of 1999. The Bologna declaration envisages the establishment of a European Higher Education Area in 2010, to provide “constant support, supervision and adaptation to the constantly evolving needs” of higher education in Europe.
Membership of the Bologna process has historically been composed of signatories of the Council of Europe Cultural Convention of 1954. Its current membership, and therefore the prospective membership of the future European Higher Education Area is, with few exceptions, co-terminous with membership of the Council of Europe.
The Assembly resolves to analyse and discuss with other stakeholders the potential contribution of the Council of Europe in the development of a European Higher Education Area.