On 9 May, EU member state leaders met in Sibiu, Romania to agree on 10 commitments for the future of Europe
just a few weeks ahead of the European elections. They also had a first discussion on their strategic agenda for 2019-2024
focusing on four key themes: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing Europe’s economic base; building a greener, fairer and more inclusive future, and promoting Europe’s interests and values in the world.
Links with issues of concern to universities mainly fall under key theme number two, which includes investments in education, research and innovation through the new generation of EU programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe. It also foresees measures to embrace the digital transition through developing artificial intelligence, promoting access and the sharing of data and ensuring connectivity. Furthermore, sustainability takes on a more prominent role with actions towards sustainable energy, the preservation of the climate and the environment, as well as promoting inclusiveness. These are all areas where universities can make a significant contribution.
However, these are very broad directions reflecting the common ground found by heads of states and governments in the European Council, which they still have to formally adopt in their next meeting at the end of May. Then, this has to be combined with the priorities of the new European Commission and of the new European Parliament, which will have an important say on concrete initiatives brought forward during the next mandate from 2019 to 2024. For more information about the upcoming European elections, and the role of the Parliament for higher education and research polices, watch EUA’s recent webinar