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Quality of higher education

Quality of higher education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Quality of higher education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Quality of higher education

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation (EC) No 561/98 of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 270 of 7.10.1998]

Summary

The Council of the European Union recommends to Member States that they establish transparent quality assessment and quality assurance systems in the field of higher education.

The aim is to safeguard and improve the quality of higher education while taking due account of national conditions, the European dimension and international requirements.

The systems of quality assessment and quality assurance must be based on the following principles:

  • autonomy and independence of the bodies responsible for quality assessment and quality assurance;
  • relating evaluation procedures to the way institutions see themselves;
  • internal (self-reflective) and external (experts’ appraisals) assessment;
  • involvement of all the players (teaching staff, administrators, students, alumni, social partners, professional associations, inclusion of foreign experts);
  • publication of evaluation reports.

The Council recommends Member States to ensure that follow-up measures are taken at national or regional level in order to enable higher education institutions to implement their plans for improving quality and for integrating graduates into the labour market more effectively.

The Member States are also recommended to ensure that high priority is given by public authorities and by the management of higher education institutions to continuous exchange of experience with other Member States and with international organisations active in this field.

The Council also recommends Member States to promote cooperation between the authorities responsible for evaluating quality in higher education and encourage their networking. This cooperation should concern:

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  • exchange of information and experience;
  • fulfilling requests for expertise and advice from the authorities in the Member States and promotion of contacts with international experts;
  • support for higher education institutes in the different countries which wish to cooperate.

In pursuing these objectives, the links with other Community activities, notably in the framework of the Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes, should also be taken into account, as well as the “acquis communautaire” in the field of recognition of qualifications for professional purposes.

The Commission is invited to support this cooperation between the authorities responsible for evaluation and quality control in higher education, by involving organisations and associations in the European Community that possess the necessary experience in the field of evaluation and quality assurance in higher education.

The Commission is requested to present, every three years, a report on the development of quality assessment and quality assurance systems in the Member States and on cooperation activities at European level in this field.

Related Acts

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Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 64/60 of 4.3.2006].
9. The Council and the European Parliament recommend Member States to introduce internal quality assurance systems in accordance with the standards and guidelines adopted in Bergen in the context of the Bologna Process.
10. They call on quality assurance agencies to be independent in their assessments, to apply the features of quality assurance laid down in the 1998 Recommendation and to apply the general rules adopted in Bergen.
11. The representatives of national authorities, the higher education sector and quality assurance agencies are encouraged to cooperate with the social partners to set up a European register of quality assurance agencies (EQAR). This register, which will be put in place in summer 2008, should be based on a national review and will take account of the principles set out in the Annex. The registration conditions and register management rules should also be laid down.
12. Member States must take the necessary action to allow higher education institutions to choose from the register the quality assurance agency which meets their needs.
13. The Council and the European Parliament recommend Member States to ensure public access to assessments produced by quality assurance agencies listed in the European register.
14. The Recommendation invites the Commission to continue to support cooperation between higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies and competent authorities.
15. Finally, the Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to present triennial reports on progress in the development of quality assurance systems.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of Council Recommendation 98/561/EC of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [COM(2004) 0620 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Economic and Financial Committee

Economic and Financial Committee

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Economic and Financial Committee

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Institutional and economic framework of the euro

Economic and Financial Committee

Acts

Council Decision 98/743/EC of 21 December 1998 on the detailed provisions concerning the composition of the Economic and Financial Committee.
Council Decision 1999/8/EC of 31 December 1998 adopting the Statutes of the Economic and Financial [See amending acts].

Summary

The Maastricht Treaty provides for an economic and financial committee to be set up at the start of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which began on 1 January 1999.

Composition and tasks of the Economic and Financial Committee

The Council is to adopt detailed provisions concerning the composition of the Committee, bearing in mind that the Member States, the Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB), are each to appoint two members of the Committee. They may also appoint two alternate members.

Under Article 114 (2) and (4) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC Treaty), the Committee’s tasks are:

  • to keep under review the economic and financial situation of the Member States and the Community and to report regularly to the Council and the Commission on this subject, in particular on financial relations with third countries and international institutions;
  • to contribute to the preparation of the work of the Council, particularly as regards recommendations required as part of multilateral surveillance (Article 99) and decisions required as part of the excessive deficit procedure (Article 101).

The Committee may also prepare the Council’s reviews of the exchange rate of the euro (Article 207). It may be consulted in the procedure leading to decisions relating to the exchange-rate mechanism of the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union (ERM II), and may provide the framework for the dialogue between the Council and the ECB at the level of senior officials from ministries, national central banks, the Commission and the ECB.

Given the importance of those tasks, it is essential that members of the Committee and alternate members be selected from among experts possessing outstanding competence in the economic and financial field. The two members appointed by each Member State must be selected from among senior officials from the administration (ministerial level) and the national central bank.

Adapting the Economic and Financial Committee in the light of EU enlargement

With a view to the enlargement of the EU on 1 May 2004, the statutes of the Economic and Financial Committee were amended in 2003. A new Article 4 was inserted, which provides for the Committee to meet in two different configurations:

  • either with the members selected from the administrations, the national central banks, the Commission and the ECB;
  • or with the members from administrations, the Commission and the ECB.

The Committee in its full composition will regularly review the list of the issues on which the national central bank members are expected to attend the meetings. This measure is necessary in order to ensure that the expertise and analytical insight of the national central banks are available to the Committee without its work being hampered by too many participants.

Taking decisions on a majority basis

If a vote is requested, decisions are to be adopted by a majority of the members but, in the case of questions on which the “Economic and Financial Affairs” Council (Ecofin Council) may subsequently take a decision, members from national central banks and the Commission will not participate in the vote. The Committee will also report on minority or dissenting views expressed in the course of the discussion. A member who is unable to attend a meeting of the Committee may delegate his/her right to vote to one of the alternates or another member.

The Committee has a President elected by a majority of its members. The two-year term of office is renewable. The President represents the Committee, including in its relations with the European Parliament. The President’s voting right is delegated to his/her alternate and, if indisposed, the President is replaced by the Vice-President of the Committee.

Where alternates replace members, they have the right to vote. As a general rule, alternate members may attend committee meetings, but do not vote or participate in discussions. The Committee may decide to amend this.

The Committee is convened at the initiative of the President, or at the request of the Commission, the Council or four of its members.

Committee deliberations are confidential.

The Committee may entrust the study of specific questions to its alternate members, to subcommittees or to working parties. It is also assisted by a secretariat.

References

Act Entry into force and expiry date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 98/743/EC 1.1.1999 OJ L 358, 31.12.1998
Decision 1999/8/EC 1.1.1999 OJ L 5, 9.1.1999
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/476/EC 01.07.2003 OJ L 158, 27.6.2003

Preventive alert against emergencies

Preventive alert against emergencies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Preventive alert against emergencies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against terrorism

Preventive alert against emergencies

Improving cooperation between Member States on the evaluation of risks, alerts and intervention and the storage of such means in the event of terrorist attacks and other possible emergencies.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 November 2001, Civil Protection – State of preventive alert against possible emergencies [COM(2001)707 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Following the tragic terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, public authorities throughout the world reviewed their readiness to respond in the event of such an attack. The European Union studied the question, and the European Council in Ghent (October 2001) asked the Commission to draw up an action programme on the subject.

This Communication meets this request and outlines action designed to improve cooperation among Member States on the evaluation of risks, alerts and intervention and the storage of such means, and in the field of research. The programme meets the need to identify infectious and toxic agents, to prevent chemical, nuclear or biological attacks, and to provide treatment when necessary.

The Commission has created a platform for coordinating the resources, services and networks available for civil protection, health protection and research so as to be able to respond to any emergencies.

Civil protection resources

A Community Mechanism designed to strengthen cooperation with regard to civil protection intervention in emergencies will be operational in 2002.

An action programme has been adopted to respond to the consequences of any nuclear, biological and chemical attacks. This programme includes:

  • setting up a monitoring and information centre, which was launched on 29 October 2001;
  • gathering information on nuclear, biological and chemical expertise and on serums and vaccines.

Health protection resources

Since 1998 the Community has had a network for epidemiological surveillance and the control of communicable diseases.

Moreover, European health ministers have asked the Commission to develop an action programme based on the following components:

  • a mechanism for coordination and deployment of joint investigation teams to deal with bio-terrorist risks;
  • a mechanism for information on the capabilities of preventing and fighting bio-terrorism and the availability of serums, antibiotics and vaccines;
  • a European network of experts responsible for evaluating, managing and communicating risks;
  • development of vaccines, medicines and treatments.

A list of possible pathogens and available treatments has been compiled with the cooperation of the European Medicines Agency.

Research resources

The Commission’s Joint Research Centre has highly advanced scientific expertise in the nuclear, chemical and biological fields.

A Global Monitoring System for Environment and Security (GMES) has been adopted by the Commission, giving the EU autonomous and operational capability in this area. The civil protection authorities will be among the first to use the system.

Coordination

The Commission will appoint a European coordinator responsible for monitoring and coordinating the initiatives set out in this Communication. The coordinator will be responsible, in particular, for the management of the Community mechanism for coordinating action in civil protection.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work