Report on the Commission Communication on strengthening cooperation with third countries in the field of higher education

March 4, 2002

Brussels, 01 March 2002

FINAL A5-0035/2002 20 February 2002 REPORT on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on strengthening cooperation with third countries in the field of higher education (COM(2001) 385 oe C5-0538/2001 oe 2001/2217(COS)) Full Text


1. The place of the European Union in the international training market

The international training market currently seems to be developing with very little European Union involvement.

The European Union has become aware of this through the Commission communication under review and national bilateral exchange programmes organised by the Member States.

Increasingly students are looking beyond national borders to find the training course which offers them the best opportunities. An international training market is thus emerging in which the main providers, notably the United States and various European countries, are beginning to compete with each other.

The Commission`s communication seeks to launch a debate on international collaboration by the EU in the field of higher education and thus to determine the position of the Member States as far as their competitiveness in the international training market is concerned. On this basis the Commission wished through its communication to indicate its desire that the European Union should be given a more important position in cooperation agreements on higher education.

The Commission communication essentially identifies two objectives for cooperation between the EU and third countries:

(a) the development of high-quality human resources (in the EU and in the partner countries) and
(b) the promotion of the EU as a leading player in the fields of university training, vocational training and research.

It also proposes a number of different measures and lays down criteria for international cooperation, including the orientation of programmes towards multilateral networks, partnerships between higher education institutions as a framework for exchanges and the use of accreditation systems compatible with the European model (ECTS).

2. Survey of the current situation as regards the international mobility of students

In order to be able to assess the Commission`s proposal, it is necessary to have an overview of the international mobility of students and the factors which influence the scope of mobility and trends in this field.

2.1 Statistical data

It is impossible to provide any clear information on the precise number of foreign students in the European Union from all the data gathered by various institutions (the OECD, UNESCO, Eurostat, the Commission). This is because definitions regarding foreign students have not been harmonised at European level. It is thus difficult to distinguish between foreign students and students who are the children of immigrants and reside in the country in question but possess a foreign nationality.


Full Text

European Parliament Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport - Rapporteur: Marielle de Sarnez _en.htm

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