As skills needs in Europe evolve rapidly, the higher education sector needs to adapt as it has a unique position to help Europe become more digital and inclusive. For this reason, the European Union has launched two initiatives in this direction: 

The key role of higher education

The green and digital transitions will require growth in education, research and innovation, and therefore higher education institutions will play a key role in this process, including:

  • achieving the European Education Area (EEA) and the European Research Area (ERA) by 2025;
  • shaping sustainable and resilient economies and making our society greener, more inclusive and more digital;
  • providing excellent employment prospects for highly qualified Europeans and engaging citizens participating in democratic life – 80 % of recent tertiary graduates in the EU were in employment less than 3 months after graduation.
A European strategy for universities

TheDigital Decade sets ambitious targets for 80 % of people with at least basic digital skills and 20 million ICT specialists by 2030.

This strategy aims to encourage European higher education institutions (over 5000 in Europe) to contribute to achieving these ambitious goals. To this end, the strategy sets out four main objectives:

  • Strengthen the European dimension in higher education and research
  • Support universities as lighthouses of our European way of life
  • Empower universities as actors of change in the twin green and digital transitions
  • Reinforce universities as drivers of Europe’s global role and leadership

In addition, to fully support the development of the strategy, the EU has planned four flagship initiatives:

  1. Further extension of the European Universities initiative to 60 European universities with more than 500 universities by mid-2024.
  2. Work towards the creation of a legal statute for alliances of higher education institutions to share resources, competences and capacities.
  3. Explore the possibilities and necessary efforts to achieve a joint European degree by mid-2024.
  4. Expand the European Student Card initiative by introducing a unique European Student Identifier available to all mobile students in 2022 and to all students in European universities by mid-2024.  
Building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation

The Commission has also prepared a proposal for a Council Recommendation aimed at enabling European higher education institutions to cooperate more closely and to facilitate the creation of joint transnational programmes or joint degrees. The main objective of the proposal is to encourage Member States to support the provision of high-quality lifelong learning opportunities for all in order to facilitate upskilling and reskilling, with a focus on the areas with the highest demand.

The Recommendation aims to bring transnational cooperation to a new level of quality and scope and directly favour students to improve their skills and employability by gaining easier access to modern and innovative transnational campuses, mobility abroad and interdisciplinary learning.

MR ⚠Disclaimer: The text has been automatically translated from the European platform Digital Skills and Jobs. If you have found errors in the text, please contact