From Harmonisation to Integration: Foundations for a European Degree

Opinion Article by Prof Dr Tomás Lorenzana

After long time discussing about the creation of a European degree, past 27th March the European Commission published the so called “2024 European Degree Package”, that contains the communication on a Blueprint for a European Degree as well as two proposals for two Council recommendations, regarding, on the one hand, quality assurance and recognition system, and, on the other, attractive and sustainable careers in Higher Education.

The three initiatives unveiled by the European Commission, and the Blueprint for a European Degree in particular, emerge as an answer to the existing legal and administrative barriers that prevent European University Alliances from issuing joint degrees, to facilitate the creation of a European degree: a new type of joint programme that a group of Higher Education Institutions may award on a voluntary basis and that is underpinned by common criteria defined at European level.

This marks a significant milestone for both the European Education Area and the European Higher Education Area, as well as for European University Alliances, which are pioneering new directions and leading the transformation of Higher Education across Europe.

European degrees will gain automatic recognition across EU countries, offering added value to students by facilitating increased opportunities for transnational study with automatic credit recognition. Ultimately, students will obtain a universally recognised diploma, enhancing their academic and professional mobility.

For the UNIgreen Alliance, this is a pivotal instrument that encourages us to push the boundaries of collaboration and work towards a deeper integration of partners, while also creating more cohesive, relevant and innovative study programmes that enrich international, multicultural and inclusive learning experiences.

Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to renew interest in, particularly, our areas of expertise, notably Sustainable Agriculture, Green Biotechnology, and Environmental and Life Sciences. These areas are crucial economic contributors and essential for achieving a resource-efficient, circular, digitised, and climate-neutral economy. The European Commission indeed recognises Biotechnology as one of the most promising technological areas of this century.

As we welcome these recent developments, we also call on the European Commission to consider the need to redesign EU funding programmes (and Erasmus+ in particular) to give a differentiated answer to the specific needs of European University Alliances.

Moreover, it is also important to acknowledge that this is only the beginning: the three initiatives mentioned above are the seeds that we hope to see grow and blossom soon. They challenge us to continue rethinking the paradigms of Higher Education, to further innovate in order to make Higher Education more accessible, universal, inclusive and impactful, and to inspire and empower our students to lead the Green Transition in Europe and globally.

Tomás Lorenzana
UNIgreen General Coordinator
University of Almería

    About the author

    Associate Professor in the Area of ​​Financial Economics and Accounting at the University of Almería, Tomás Lorenzana has developed his professional career there since 2000, and at the Rovira i Virgili University, where he obtained a PhD in Business Administration and Management, from 1992 to that year 2000.

    In addition to the tasks inherent to his job, related to teaching in different Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and research, he has been carrying out tasks related to the Internationalisation of Higher Education for more than twenty years, having held different positions to the one he currently holds as Rector’s Delegate for UNIgreen, The green European University.


    Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).  Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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