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Belarus not yet ready to join the European Higher Education Area

January 24, 2012
The Bologna Follow-Up Group: the Republic of Belarus does not meet the conditions for joining the European Higher Education Area.

The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) consists of 47 member states. The Republic of Belarus is the only remaining large European country that is still not an EHEA member.

In December 2011, the Republic of Belarus officially applied to become a member of the EHEA. At its meeting in Copenhagen 18-19 January 2012, under Danish and Azeri chairmanship, the Bologna Follow-Up Group decided to advise the EHEA ministers not to approve the EHEA membership of the Republic of Belarus at the Bucharest Ministerial Conference in April 2012.

Greater will to reform needed

According to the assessment of the Bologna Follow-Up Group, the Republic of Belarus does not at present observe the principles and values of the Bologna Process, such as academic freedom, institutional autonomy and student participation in higher education governance.

The Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, Morten Østergaard, agrees with the decision of the Bologna Follow-Up Group.

– There are other ways to assist the Belarusian civil society, in particular students and the academic community. Denmark is and continues to be an active supporter of the Open Europe Scholarship Scheme, which gives young Belarusians access to higher education at European universities. It is our hope that the European Higher Education Area will one day be able to welcome the Republic of Belarus as a member, once the necessary reforms have been implemented in order to fulfil the EHEA accession criteria and ensure students' rights, says Morten Østergaard.

For further information, please contact:

Chief adviser Jacob Fuchs, tel: +45 2072 2581.
Press officer Ingeborg Nielsen, tel: +45 2211 0200.

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