The European Education Area (EEA) became a reality in 2017, but it was progressively taking shape since the beginning of the Erasmus programme in 1987. Back then, the Erasmus programme had the goal to provide higher education students with the possibility to spend a period of their studies in another university within the European Union in the same conditions as in their own university. It was a huge success and the Erasmus programme grew.
The need to recognise the studies carried out abroad led to the creation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) . This system aimed to find equivalence between different education systems, different grade systems, different ways of evaluating the student performance and learning. It evolved to become a pillar of the Bologna Process.
The Bologna Process was initiated with the Declaration of Bologna, signed in 1999. For several years, all EU countries reformed their higher education system in an effort to make the systems more similar between each other and, hence, facilitate the mobility and recognition of studies carried out in different institutions from different countries. In 2010, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was created. Now, it is possible to build one’s degree with subjects taken in different universities in different countries (including graduate traineeships). It is also possible to graduate at the same time in two or more universities from different countries.
In the meantime, other funding programmes in education were established throughout the years, for example:
. Comenius: for schools
. Leonardo da Vinci: for higher education students’ graduate traineeships
. Grundvig: for adult education
. Lingua: for languages
. Minerva: for information and communication technology
The EEA is the result of this evolution. The aim is to build a space where EU countries can not only share knowledge and collaborate with each other, but also where the different levels of education from early childhood to adult learning, including vocational education and training, are integrated in a global vision.
European Research Area
In 2000, the European Research Area (ERA) was launched aiming to «creating a single market for research and innovation fostering free movement of researchers, scientific knowledge and innovation, and encouraging a more competitive European industry» (in COM(2020) 628 ). It aspired to be a common space to share and develop innovation and technology by collaborating with each other. In 2018, a new ERA was born, intending to be a step forward in terms of investment, competition, and excellence.
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