Joint Statement by European Education Ministers – The Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999. The Bologna process, launched by the Bologna Declaration (1999) and evaluated every three years at ministerial conferences, aims to establish a more comparable, compatible and coherent system for European higher education. The objectives of the Sorbonne Declaration were confirmed in 1999 by the Bologna Declaration, in which 29 countries declared themselves ready to work towards improving the competitiveness of the European Higher Education Area, while stressing the need to promote the independence and autonomy of all higher education institutions. All the provisions of the Bologna Declaration were defined as voluntary harmonization measures and not as clauses of a binding treaty. The Bologna Declaration (full joint declaration of the European education ministers convened in Bologna on 19 June 1999)[1] is the main guiding document of the Bologna process. It was adopted by education ministers from 29 European countries at their meeting in Bologna in 1999. The process officially began in 1999 with the signing of the Bologna Declaration. Twenty-nine countries signed the declaration on 19 June 1999 in Bologna (hence the name of the whole process). The objectives of the declaration are: a ministerial conference is held every two years to bring together ministers responsible for higher education from all participating countries to assess progress and set guidelines and priorities for the coming period. The last conference was held in 2009 in Louvain-la-Neuve. Previous conferences have been held in London in May (2007), Bergen (2005), Berlin (2003), Prague (2001) and Bologna (1999) in London. The organisation of the process was decided by EU ministers in September 1999 and the monitoring group established a work programme in November 1999. What is the Bologna process? How is the process organized? How did it all start? 1999 Prague 2001 Berlin 2003 Bergen 2005 London 2007 Leuven-Newfoundland 2009 Council of Europe Who is involved in the process? The ministers of education also adopted the Paris communiqué, which highlights priority activities in this area for the coming years.

The communiqué outlines the common vision of education ministers from 48 European countries for a more ambitious European higher education area by 2020. The 2010 Bologna Ministerial Conference in Budapest and Vienna was held in March 2010. It issued the Budapest-Vienna declaration. As in London, the Council of Europe spoke at the opening meeting of the ministerial conference The Council presented a report on its activities to promote the Bologna process since the previous ministerial conference. The Bologna process is not based on an intergovernmental treaty. It created the European Higher Education Area to facilitate student and staff mobility, make higher education more inclusive and accessible, and make European higher education more attractive and globally competitive. The Bologna process also provides a forum for dialogue with neighbouring countries on higher education reforms and issues related to common academic principles, such as the independence of universities and student participation in civil society activities. It has become an important space for soft diplomacy with neighbouring Western Balkan countries (with the exception of Kosovo), Eastern Partnership countries, Turkey and Russia, as well as many other countries.