The Legal Constitution of Higher Education Policy and Governance of the European Union

  • Anne C. van Wageningen


Whereas nation states (and possibly regional governments) used to be key in setting the directions for their higher education systems, institutions and sometimes individuals within these institutions, recently — in Europe — a supranational layer of governance has gained prominence. This supranational layer is constituted, first of all, by the Bologna Process, to which 47 states (totalling more than 800 million inhabitants) adhere as members (Garben, 2011), and second, by the European Union (EU) with 28 Member States (totalling more than 500 million inhabitants). Both seem to function independently but interact through the membership of Member States of the EU in the Bologna Process as well. Moreover, the EU itself is a member of the Bologna Process, being represented by the European Commission (henceforth: Commission). Therefore, a complex patchwork of a European-level higher education policy and governance structure seems to emerge. Although both systems have been commented upon thoroughly (see e.g. Amaral et al., 2009; Maassen and Olsen, 2007; Corbett, 2005; De Witte, 1988; Lenaerts, 1994; Shaw, 1992, 1999; Neave, 2001, 2003, 2009), these structures have mainly been commented upon separately. Garben, however, has discussed both systems in an important legal study on harmonising European higher education (Garben, 2011). The aim of this contribution is to expand on the work that has been done so far and to create a deeper understanding of the complexity of supranational governance in Europe.


European Union Member State Vocational Training High Education System European Parliament 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amaral, A., Neave G., Musselin C. and, Maassen P. (eds) (2009) European Integration and the Governance of Higher Education and Research (Dordrecht: Springer).Google Scholar
  2. Alter, K. J. (1998) ‘Who are the “Masters of the Treaty”?: European governments and the European Court of Justice’, International Organizations, 52, 121–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armstrong, K. A. (2010) Governing Social Inclusion: Europeanization through Policy Coordination (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnard, C. and Steve P. (eds) (2014) European Union Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Corbett, A. (2005) Universities and the Europe of Knowledge: Ideas, Institutions and Policy Entrepreneurship in European Union Higher Education Policy 1955–2005 (Houndsmill: Palgrave MacMillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Council (2015),date accessed 27 February 2015.
  7. Council (ET 2020) Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’), 2009/C 119/02.Google Scholar
  8. Craig, P. and G. de Búrca (eds) (1999) The Evolution of EU Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  9. De Witte, B. (ed) (1988) European Community Law of Education (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgeschellschaft).Google Scholar
  10. Dougan, M. (2005) ‘Fees, grants, loans and dole cheques: who covers the costs of migrant education within the EU?’ Common Market Law Review, 42(4), 943–986.Google Scholar
  11. European Council (ECcil 2000), presidency conclusions Lisbon 23 and 24 march 2000,
  12. Garben, S. (2011) EU Higher Education Law: The Bologna Process and Harmonization by Stealth (Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International).Google Scholar
  13. Gornitzka, Å. (2007) ‘The Lisbon process: a supranational policy perspective in’, P. Maassen and Johan P. Olsen (eds) University Dynamics and European Integration (pp. 155–178) (Dordrecht: Springer).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Huisman, J., Maassen, P. and G. Neave (eds) (2001) Higher Education and the Nation State, the International Dimension of Higher Education (Oxford: Pergamon).Google Scholar
  15. Kapteyn, P. J. G (2005) ‘Over het Hoe en Waarom van een Europese “Grondwet”’, in Working Papers European Studies, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  16. Kwikkers, P. and A. van Wageningen (2012) ‘A space for the European higher education area’, Higher Education Policy, 25, 39–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lenaerts, K. (1994) ‘Education in European community law after Maastricht’, Common Market Law Review, 31, 7–41.Google Scholar
  18. Maassen, P. and J. P. Olsen (eds) (2007) University Dynamics and European Integration (Dordrecht: Springer).Google Scholar
  19. Neave, G. (2001) ‘The European dimension in higher education: an excursion into the modern use of historical analogues’, in J. Huisman, P. Maassen and G. Neave (eds) Higher Education and the Nation State, the International Dimension of Higher Education (pp. 13–73) (Oxford: Pergamon).Google Scholar
  20. Neave, G. (2003) ‘The Bologna declaration: some of the historic dilemmas posed by the reconstruction of the community in Europe’s systems of higher education’, Educational Policy, 17(1), 141–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Neave, G. (2009) ‘The Bologna process as Alpha or Omega, or, on interpreting history and context as inputs to Bologna, Prague, Berlin and Beyond’, in A. Amaral, G. Neave, C. Musselin and P. Maassen (eds) European Integration and the Governance of Higher Education and Research (pp. 17–58) (Dordrecht: Springer).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Shaw, J. (1992) ‘Education and the law in the European community’, Journal of Law & Education, 21(3), 415–442.Google Scholar
  23. Shaw, J. (1999) ‘From the margins to the centre: education and training law and policy’, in P. Craig and G. de Búrca (eds) The Evolution of EU Law (pp. 555–595) (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  24. Van der Hoeven, J. (1989) De drie dimensies van het bestuursrecht: ontstaan en vorming van het Nederlandse algemene bestuursrecht (Alphen aan den Rijn: Samsom H.D. Tjeenk Willink).Google Scholar
  25. Van der Mei, A. P. (2003) Free Movement of Persons within the European Community: Cross-Border Access to Public Benefits (Oxford: Hart).Google Scholar
  26. Van Nuffelen, P. and Cambien, N. (2009) ‘De vrijheid van economisch niet-actieve EU-burgers om binnen de EU te reizen, te verblijven en te studeren’, Sociaal Economische Wetgeving , 57(4), 144–154.Google Scholar
  27. van Wageningen, A. C. (2003) De staat van de universiteit; een rechtsvergelijkende studie naar de institutionalisering van de universiteit in Nederland, Frankrijk en Nordrhein-Westfalen (Enschede: Universiteit Twente/CHEPS).Google Scholar
  28. van Wageningen, A. C. (2005) ‘Het Hof, hoger onderwijs en financiering; universiteiten binnen de contouren van één Europees hoger onderwijs stelsel’, in L. Versteegh, A. van Wageningen and J. J. Wirken (eds) De veelzijdige burger, opstellen voor prof. mr. P.J.G Kapteyn (pp. 143–158) (Amsterdam: Pallas Publications).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Versteegh, L., van Wageningen, A. and J. J. Wirken (eds) (2005) De veelzijdige burger, opstellen voor prof. mr. P.J.G Kapteyn (Amsterdam: Pallas Publications).Google Scholar
  30. Weiler, J. H. H. (1991) ‘The Transformation of Europe’, The Yale Law Journal, 100(8), 2403–2483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Jurisprudence and legislation

  1. Bidar (2005) Case C-209/03 [2005] ECR p. I-2119.Google Scholar
  2. Blaizot (1988) Case 24/86 [1988] ECR p. 379.Google Scholar
  3. Bressol (2010) Case C-73/08 [2010] ECR p. I-2735.Google Scholar
  4. Brown (1988) Case 197/86 [1988] ECR p. 3205.Google Scholar
  5. Casagrande v. Landeshauptstadt München (1974) Case 9/74 [1974] ECR p. 773.Google Scholar
  6. Commission v. Belgium (1988) Case C-42/87 [1988] ECR p. I-5445.Google Scholar
  7. Commission v. Belgium (2004) Case C-65/03 [2004] ECR p. I-6427.Google Scholar
  8. Commission v. Netherlands (2012) Case C- 542/09 ECLI:EU:C:2012:346.Google Scholar
  9. Commission v. Republic of Austria (2005) Case C-147/03 [2005] ECR p. I-5969.Google Scholar
  10. D’Hoop (2002) Case 224/98 [2002] ECR p. I-6191.Google Scholar
  11. Erasmus (1989) Case 242/87 [1989] ECR p. 1425.Google Scholar
  12. Forcheri (1983) Case 152/82 [1983] ECR p. 2323.Google Scholar
  13. Förster (2008) Case C-158/07 [2008] ECR p. I-8507.Google Scholar
  14. Giersch (2013) Case C-20/12 ECLI:EU:C:2013:411.Google Scholar
  15. Gravier v. City of Liège (1985) Case 293/85 [1985] ECR p. 593.Google Scholar
  16. Grzelczyk (2001) Case C-184/99 [2001] ECR p. I-6193.Google Scholar
  17. Humbel and Edel (1988) Case C-263/86 [1988] ECR p. 5365.Google Scholar
  18. Lair (1988) Case 39/86 [1988] ECR p. I-3161.Google Scholar
  19. Morgan & Bucher (2007) Joined Cases C-11/06 and C-12/06 [2007] ECR p. I-9161.Google Scholar
  20. Neri (2003) Case C-153/02 [2003] ECR p. I-13555.Google Scholar
  21. Raulin (1992) Case C-357/89 [1992] ECR p. I-1027.Google Scholar
  22. Schwarz & Gootjes-Schwarz (2007) Case C-76/05 [2007] ECR p. I-6849.Google Scholar
  23. Vlassopoulou (1991) Case C-340/89 [1991] ECR p. I-2357.Google Scholar
  24. Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2010) doi:10.2860/58644 (Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union).Google Scholar
  25. Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC, (OJ L 158, 30 April 2004, p. 77).Google Scholar
  26. Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 (Regulation 1612/68) of the Council of 15 October 1968 on freedom of movement for workers within the Community, OJ L 257, 19 October 1968, pp. 2–12 (DE, FR, IT, NL), English special edition: Series I Volume 1968(II) pp. 475–484.Google Scholar
  27. Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 (Regulation 492/2011) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union, OJ L 141, 27 May 2011, pp. 1–12.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anne C. van Wageningen 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne C. van Wageningen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations