European higher education in the world
Csaba Borboly
President of Harghita County Council, Romania

There has never been a time when higher education and its links with research and innovation have played a more crucial role for Europe’s regions and cities. This opinion therefore calls for local and regional authorities to be more involved in the internationalisation strategies of higher education institutions. European universities have excellent links inside Europe but many lack a clear strategy for strengthening their ties with non-European partners. Moreover, the rapporteur is concerned that there are only a few European universities with a strong international reputation. He therefore encourages member states to use the CSF funds to build on infrastructure in those regions where higher education is lagging behind. He adds that this should be carried out where there is a credible strategy for better international relations and smart specialisation. President Borboly also sees great potential in the dissemination of best practices and systemic solutions in the European higher educational system to neighbouring and pre-accession countries given that this could facilitate student mobility and give Europe a stronger position in the competition for talent. To conclude, the opinion makes a recommendation to the Commission to achieve efficient, accessible and rapid management of international cooperation on research, innovation and higher education.

The degree of internationalisation of higher education has increased in the European Union and worldwide and is expected to rise further in future. The European Union will provide the policy framework and funding support to cope with the challenges faced, mainly through the Erasmus+ programme for the 2014–20 period. But it is at national and regional level and in the universities to develop strategies on internationalisation of higher education and to further develop their mobility schemes and cross border exchanges.
Doris Pack
MEP and Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education

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