2 February 2023

4EU+ representatives attend the European University Alliances’ meeting with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

On 30-31 January 2023, a meeting between the Rectors of 44 European University alliances and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, took place in Brussels. 4EU+ was represented by Professor Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva and Isabelle Kratz, Secretary General and Head of the Association’s office.

The gathering was an opportunity to share experiences and practices drawn from the work of the university alliances to date, and to discuss the ways of strategic and long-term cooperation and open dialogue between the inter-university consortia. The exchange focused on the efforts made by European Universities to exploit their potential.

The invited guests discussed the vision and ideas for the future of the European Universities initiative, in light of the new European Strategy for Universities, issued recently by the European Commission. The participants stressed the need to create more opportunities for cooperation between the alliances and to organise similar meetings on a regular basis.

“The European Universities initiative (EUi) embodies values such as unity, identity and solidarity. The diversity of its academic members in terms of culture, rules or habits may sometimes be perceived as obstacles to cooperation, but in fact, diversity has proven to be a strength, a key driver for innovation. We are initiating systemic cooperation that requires systemic changes. Before we meet our objectives, there are still challenges ahead: joint educational offers, shared resources, experiences and achievements. The success factors are known, the EUi strategy needs both strong leadership and sustainable funding,” commented Professor Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva.

During the two-day meeting, the results of two European Commission’s calls for pilot projects were announced, one pertaining to the development of a joint European degree label and the other related to devising a framework for a transnational legal status for European Universities. Both projects in which 4EU+ participates (ESEU - European status for ECIU University and ED-AFFICHE - European Degree label pilot project) were selected for funding.

“Imagining and implementing the university of the future is both exciting and challenging; it takes time, resources, enthusiasm, conviction, stamina, and 4EU+ is well placed to know this. It was therefore important to hear the European Commissioner reaffirm her strong support for EUI. Together with other alliances, we were able to reiterate our need for a holistic approach and long-term support. Fully aware of our leading role in building the university of the future, 4EU+ is more than ever eager to contribute to the development of a stronger model for the next MFF, following the invitation extended to us at this meeting," summarised Isabelle Kratz, 4EU+ Secretary General.