Interim Conclusion on Supranational EU Policy

The value of education and research became more apparent towards the end of the 20th century with the shift from an industrial production-based society to a knowledge-based one.[1] Additionally, as discussed in Chap. 1, the nature of HEIs changed towards commodification and internationalisation. These developments made European coordination desirable. EU education and R&D policy began to develop, but the Member States seemed reluctant to provide the Union with extensive competences or indeed to utilise potential possibilities of existing competences. Garben, for example, argues conclusively that there might already be a basis in primary law for legislation on academic recognition of diplomas.[2] This might be explained with ongoing controversies in the public realm about

‘competence creep’, the legitimacy of the European Union project and the desire to keep these policy areas national and retain power. Nevertheless, further coordination appears to have been deemed necessary. Therefore, a significant part of European policies affecting HEIs started using soft law mechanisms to avoid the supranational policy mode.[3]

  • [1] Walkenhorst 2008, p. 574 seq.
  • [2] See Garben 2010, p. 189 seq; Garben 2011, p. 184 seq.
  • [3] See also Teichler 2007, p. 114; Walkenhorst 2008, p. 573 seq; Maassen and Musselin 2009;Garben 2010, p. 187 seq; Chou and Ulnicane 2015; Young 2015.
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