ECIU University welcomes the European ambition to work towards a legal statute for alliances of higher education institutions, to allow them to pool resources, capacities and strengths.
ECIU has been working with national legal bodies for 25 years now. This current legal status is not serving the urgent ambition to offer education on a European level, solve societal challenges in close co-operation with various parties from our societies, and to create a European network for knowledge. Although ECIU University works towards a European University with one entity recognised across Europe, legally this is not yet possible. A phased approach towards a European legal statute, starting with pilots in 2022, is welcomed by ECIU University. Stretching available national and European solutions, could be part of this approach.
A Legal Statute for European Universities is needed to fulfil the high ambitions for European co-operation in education and beyond. We cannot realise European Universities, a European Degree and a European Education Area without such a Legal Statute. Moreover, a Legal Statute is crucial for (international) recognition of trustworthy partnership. To enable such partnerships and visibility towards society in a broader perspective, the Statute must be recognised beyond the domain of education.
ECIU University is facing concrete administrative and regulatory barriers. Our current legal body is set up in accordance with national law (Foundation under Dutch law), which brings difficulties when sharing financial, human, digital and physical resources, infrastructures and services, as well as offering joint education, research, innovation and service to societal activities. Member States have different interpretations of existing recommendations, rules and regulations. A Legal Statute would support European Universities creating a joint identity: being acknowledged as a true European University and being recognised at a European level as a sustainable and trustworthy partner.
A European Legal Statute will not be a single solution for a single problem. The exact obstacles which European Universities are facing due to the lack of a Legal Statute, and arguments for creating a such a Statute, are shared in a paper that can be downloaded below. We look forward to working together with policy-makers and all parties involved in order to realise a Legal Statute for European Universities.