The Prague Summit 2001

Meeting between the European Ministers in charge of higher education held in Prague on 19 May 2001 wit the objective to define the actions needed to achieve the six objectives of the Bologna Process.

In march during a meeting in Salamanca, before the meeting in Prague on 19 May 2001, the European universities created the European University Association (EUA) and signed a document based on certain principles and key issues. The principles sanctioned were: autonomy with accountability, education as a public responsibility, research-based higher education and organisational diversity.
The key issues were: quality as a fundamental building stone of the project; "trust building", in other words the creation of a climate of trust in the definition of the European mechanisms for the mutual acceptance of quality assurance, with accreditation as one possible option; free mobility of students, lecturers, technical and administrative staff and graduates; compatible qualifications at graduate and undergraduate levels; attractiveness of European universities.

The Prague Communiqué, resulting from the meeting of European Ministers in charge of higher education, defined the actions to be carried out to achieve the six objectives of the Bologna Process and Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to "the objective of establishing the European Higher Education Area by 2010" and set out three new objectives.
In the meantime the number of signatory countries of the Bologna Process had risen to 34.

The "Bologna Follow-up Group" was also established, composed of representatives of all signatories and the European Commission. The group also includes the following representatives with the role of observers: European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) e del Council of Europe.

In view of the Bologna Follow-up Conference in Prague and of the conference in Berlin on 18 and 19 September 2003 seminars, conventions, and debates were organised by government and university bodies, both national, inter-governmental and European.
It can be said that the initiative taken in May 1998 by a group of only four ministers has been successful, and in the last five years it has involved all the interested parties in a large number of European countries.  Furthermore the principles and objectives of the Bologna Declaration are now among the priorities of the European agenda.  Special units or discussion forums have been set up in all the countries involved to explain the contents and implications of the Bologna Declaration.

The three additional objectives of the Prague Summit

  1. Lifelong learning
    "Lifelong learning" is an essential element of the European Higher Education Area. In the future Europe, built upon a knowledge-based society and economy, lifelong learning strategies are necessary to face the challenges of competitiveness and the use of new technologies and to improve social cohesion, equal opportunities and the quality of life.
  2. Higher education institutions and students
    Ministers stressed that the involvement of universities and other higher education institutions and of students in the establishment and shaping of a European Higher Education Area is needed and welcomed.
  3. Promoting the attractiveness of the European Higher Education Area
    Ministers agreed on the importance of enhancing the attractiveness of European higher education to students from non-European Union countries.