Should academic qualifications be automatically recognized in all EU Member States?
All EU Member States are part of the Bologna Process, which seeks to bring more coherence to higher education systems across Europe. However, graduates of higher education institutions still face lengthy recognition procedures for their qualifications and have to pay related costs. This also causes uncertainty as to whether their qualification will be valid in another EU Member State where they wish to work or continue their studies.
Since 2021, Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg) and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) have agreed on the automatic mutual recognition of professional qualifications. (1.) This means that anyone who has earned a higher education degree covered by the Treaty in one of these countries is guaranteed that the level of their degree will be automatically recognized in the other countries. Such automatic arrangements should be extended across the EU.
This measure will facilitate a more competitive job market in the EU and remove cumbersome administrative procedures for individuals. Graduates – mobile Europeans – will avoid lengthy recognition procedures and related costs when working or studying in another EU Member State.
A uniform standard of higher education has not yet been achieved in the EU. Although all EU Member States are part of the Bologna Process, the award of academic degrees is a national prerogative and there are traditional differences that have not been overcome.