EUA has contributed significantly to the European and international debates on quality and has addressed issues related to quality assurance in several policy documents.
• The most recent EUA policy document on quality and quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area was adopted by the EUA Council in October, 2010, as it was felt that EUA needed to strengthen and clarify its position in this regard. This position argues strongly in favour of a notion of quality and promoting quality assurance processes that are based on institutional responsibility for quality and recognise the autonomy of universities and the diversity of the sector. Furthermore, it states that the ultimate goal of all quality assurance – both internal and external - is to enhance quality thus promoting trust among stakeholders. In this context, the policy position focuses on the need to promote cultures of quality at the system as well as the institutional level and encourages governments for their part to ensure that external quality assurance frameworks focus on promoting quality cultures aiming at institutional development rather than attempting to measure quality in quantitative terms.
Previous key policy documents addressing quality assurance are as follows:
• The Salamanca Convention, which marked the creation of EUA in 2001, stated the central importance of quality for European universities. The Salamanca Declaration links quality, accountability and autonomy as the key aspects of the universities' responsibility to society and the public. The Salamanca Convention was preceded by a CRE project, which was aimed at exploring the context and the feasibility of accreditation across national borders in Europe.
• Two years later, the Graz Declaration called for a European QA code of principles.
• In light of the ministerial summit in Berlin in September 2003, EUA's QA policy position was adopted by the EUA Council on 1 April 2004 in Marseille, France. This policy position further developed EUA’s QA position (Graz Declaration) in the context of the QA action lines of the Berlin Communiqué.
• Based on the preceding debates and initiatives on quality assurance, the Glasgow Declaration of March 2005 further developed and specified universities’ priorities for instance by: stressing the link between a systematic quality culture, the scope of autonomy and funding levels and expressing universities’ commitment to an internal quality culture that fits their institutional mission and objectives.
• EUA’s Lisbon Declaration which was adopted in 2007 highlighted, among others, the importance of linking external quality mechanisms to internal processes, so as to ensure their wide-spread acceptance within the university, and to benefit from synergies and keep bureaucracy to a minimum.
• EUA’s quality position from 2007 identified key principles for internal and external quality assurance processes and stated the Association’s commitment to the development of the European Register of QA Agencies.
• The Prague Declaration which was adopted in March 2009 and presented 10 success factors for European universities for the next decade identified enhancing quality and improving transpency as one of them. It stated that universities will work towards this goal “by fully embracing the responsibilities derived from the commitment of universities to quality and by providing accurate information about institutional mission, activities, performance and results obtained to learners, employers and other stakeholders.”