400 higher education institutions meet in Barcelona at the European University Alliances Forum 15 September 2023

The Spanish Presidency of the European Union Council recently hosted the Second Forum of European University Alliances in Barcelona’s iconic Fabra i Coats textile factory on September 14th and 15th. Notably, representatives from the SEA-EU initiative were in attendance, including General Coordinator Fidel Echevarria, General Director Laura Howard, Vicerrector of UALG Alexandra Teodosio, and representatives of the SEA-EU Cities Council, Peter Olsen (Bodø Municipality) and the project office of the University of Kiel Linda Pialek.

Since its launch in 2017, the European University Initiative has formed 50 alliances, uniting over 430 higher education institutions from 35 countries, with approximately 1,700 associated institutions. It’s on track to reach its goal of having 60 alliances encompassing 500 universities by mid-2024.

The primary goal of these long-term alliances is to promote European identity, values, excellence, and innovation in higher education. This Second Forum brought together nearly 400 participants, including alliance representatives, European Commission officials, Member State representatives, student associations, and quality assurance agencies.

Joan Subirats, Acting Minister of Universities, praised the event, emphasizing the importance of these alliances in transforming and strengthening European higher education.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice President for Promoting the European Way of Life at the European Commission, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the role of these alliances in creating a common European higher education space.

Markus González, Undersecretary of Universities, expressed satisfaction with the event’s reception and underscored its role as a platform for meaningful dialogue.

The discussions at the forum covered topics such as enhancing the quality and competitiveness of European universities, fostering diversity, promoting university autonomy, and expanding cooperation opportunities. They also delved into making the “European Universities” initiative more accessible to European society and creating a joint European degree label for collaborative programs, as well as the social dimension of European universities, focusing on inclusivity and responsiveness to local community needs.