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Around 1000 higher education institutions and Member States representatives gathered to call for the implementation of the European degree

29 avril 2024
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Brussels, 29 April 2024


During a conference on a blueprint for a European degree on 29 April in Brussels, which brought together more than 1000 participants – both in person and online -, higher education institutions from all across the EU have called on the European Commission, Member States and the wider higher education sector to take the next steps to make the blueprint for a European degree a reality. They stressed the need for strong coordination between Member States, legislative changes and sufficient funding at European, national and regional level for what promises to reshape the landscape of higher education across the continent.

10 Erasmus+ pilot projects have been testing over the past year the delivery of a European degree (label) and the establishment of a possible European legal status for alliances of higher education institutions. During the event, organised by the Erasmus+ pilot projects in cooperation with the European Commission, they presented the results of their work. They showcased the clear added value of increased and institutionalised transnational cooperation fostered by the European degree, both for students, staff, employers, higher education institutions, higher education systems and the EU as a whole.

The SMARTT project

SMARTT is an innovative project aiming at analysing, testing, and piloting the new European Degree label criteria, improving the quality and increasing the transferability of future developments of European Degrees across Europe and beyond. SMARTT is formed by the CIVIS - Europe’s Civic University Alliance in cooperation with the European Universities Alliances EUTOPIA, NEUROTECHEU, and UNITA, alongside higher education institutions, national and regional stakeholders and relevant actors. Based on significant experience in designing and delivering joint and multiple degree programmes at transnational level, the higher education institutions involved in the SMARTT project have made, based on clear methodologies and thorough analyses, recommendations and proposals both for the European Commission and the member states, to support the development of a European Approach for designing and implementing Joint European Degrees in the future. (See final results here).

About the conference

The conference was the first large event following the recent adoption of the European degree package comprising a Communication on a blueprint for a European degree and two proposals for Council recommendations to support the higher education sector.

The European degree would pave the way for a new type of joint programmes, delivered on a voluntary basis at national, regional, or institutional level, and based on a common set of criteria agreed at European level. It is expected to make it easier for higher education institutions across Europe to set-up transnational joint degree programmes, boost learning mobility within the EU, enhance students' transversal skills, and help meet labour market demands, making graduates more attractive to future employers. Furthermore, it will attract students from around the world and bolster European competitiveness.

This year has been intense, yet we are proud of the path we have taken. We wish to express our gratitude to our stakeholders for their support, and to EUTOPIA, NEUROTECHEU, and UNITA for their valuable contributions. We are willing to walk next steps inside the European Universities Alliances, alongside with the blueprint for a European degree and prepare our universities and offer to our students a more vibrant future”, Nadia Fernández de Pinedo, SMARTT coordinator, CIVIS.

Next steps

This proposal for a blueprint is only the first step on the pathway towards a European degree. It launches formal discussions with the Council of the EU to adopt the European criteria and with Member States to engage in necessary reforms.

Looking forward, the pilot projects are eager to capitalise on the insights gained during the pilots work and together with the wider higher education institutions engage in further discussions with the European Commission and Member States through the planned European Degree Policy Lab and the European Degree Forum, in order to develop a common understanding of the principles and criteria underlying the European degree. In autumn 2024, the Commission will also present the final report synthesising the results of the Erasmus+ pilot projects.


In 2022, the European Commission launched an Erasmus+ call on the joint European degree (label) and the European legal status for alliances of higher education institutions. Ten Erasmus+ pilot projects started their operations in Spring 2023.

Six pilots aimed to test the European criteria for a European degree (label), pilot a joint European degree (label) and provide recommendations to facilitate the development and implementation of joint degrees in Europe in line with these European criteria. Four pilots involving alliances of higher education institutions tested a possible European legal status for these alliances. The aim of this legal status is to give any type of alliance of higher education institutions, on a voluntary basis, the latitude to act together, including on designing joint curricula. The projects provided recommendations for a possible future European legal status, with specific features tailored to the higher education sector.

(Re)Watch the conference

The full recording of the conference is available here: CIVIS a European Civic University - YouTube

Contact SMARTT