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EU neighbourhood policy

Universities build bridges across political, cultural and economic borders. They do this through student mobility, through research collaborations, and through studying and teaching foreign cultures. Through their core activities, universities are key providers of people-to-people contacts, and they are leading actors in cultural and science diplomacy. 

These roles are evident in the relation between the European Union and its neighbours; there are extensive relations between universities from Vladivostok to the Canary Islands. EUA has a large membership going far beyond the EU, including 122 institutions in EU neighbourhood and accession countries, as well as 32 institutions in Russia and Kazakhstan. These universities participate in EUA events and projects and contribute to the community of European universities. In the Southern Neighbourhood, EUA works closely with the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) to organise the yearly Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education (AECHE) since 2013.

While the geographical distance is small, countries of the neighbourhood region and  Europe differ in cultural, social, political and economic terms. Higher education cooperation offers a means to overcome these differences: by recognising and working with them, otherness and diversity are effectively turned into an asset.

(The role of universities in the European Neighbourhood Policy. EUA’s response to the public EU consultation “Towards a new European Neighbourhood Policy”)

Why does EUA find this important? EUA believes that international collaboration, be it student mobility, research collaboration, or sharing between institutional leadership, enhances the quality of universities’ work. Capacity building within Europe and with our neighbours will lead to a better and more inclusive research and higher education community. This can have positive impact beyond the university sector as it helps strengthening civil society and increase understanding between cultures and thereby contribute to stability and progress. Those are also goals of EU policies towards its neighbouring countries and therefore EUA deems it important to actively engage in this policy field showing the key role universities are playing in society. EUA has developed an infographic visualising the various frameworks for cooperation in higher education and research and showing how EUA works with its members and partners on various projects to foster capacity building and exchange between universities in the EU and its neighbouring countries. You can also read the EUA statement on the occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit on 24 November 2017.

Learn more about EUA’s activities in the EU Neighbourhood and in EU Accession Countries:

From EUA’s infographic on universities and the EU neighbourhood

From EUA’s infographic on universities and the EU neighbourhood

From EUA’s AECHE Conference

From EUA’s AECHE Conference

From EUA’s ATHENA Project


EUA’s response to the European Neighbourhood Policy

Read the response here and download the infographic on universities and the EU neighbourhood. 
Aeche 2

The Arab-Euro Conference on Higher Education brings together the Association of Arab Universities (AARU) and the EUA. Read the Rabat Declaration here.


Support and Promotion for Higher Education Reform Experts

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Fostering Sustainable and Autonomous Higher Education Systems in the Eastern Neighbouring Area

Empowering Universities to fulfil their responsibility for Quality Assurance
MIMIRModernisation of Institutional Management of Innovation and Research in South Neighbouring Countries

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96