EU wields scissors at red tape in the hope of encouraging exchange

June 8, 2001

The European Union has agreed guidelines to encourage members to remove administrative and cultural barriers to students and lecturers working across the EU.

The decision by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers follows several months of discussion over the final shape of the recommendation, which focuses on mobility for students, people undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers.

MEPs had to drop plans to include researchers in the guidelines because of a legal technicality.

The guidelines encourage member states to:

  • Remove legal and administrative obstacles to studying and working around the EU
  • Encourage students and lecturers to learn at least two EU languages, especially by helping them learn the language of a destination country
  • Develop financial support for such moves
  • Promote qualifications acquired through studying abroad
  • Provide information on how to study and teach around the EU.

Because these principles have been set in an EU recommendation, Brussels cannot force member states to implement them, but it could apply political pressure by way of a report into how national governments have responded.

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