Increased cooperation with regional EU neighbours

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In terms of EU cross-border relations, priority is given to fostering good relationships with the EU’s neighbours to the east and south. This is also reflected in higher education partnerships.

In its strategy paper “A New Response to a Changing Neighbourhood”, published in May 2011, the EU announced its intention to reward political reforms with closer collaboration and to link EU aid to specific conditions. This went hand in hand with a promotion of the entire neighbourhood region as the EU’s closest partner. The paper devotes particular attention to mobility and the establishment of a modern educational infrastructure. This policy has been put into practice by significant budget growth within the existing EU higher education programmes Tempus and Erasmus Mundus: in 2012, the programmes were topped up with just under €100 million; in 2013, a pool of around €133 million was available for the region within the programmes. Dialogue about higher education with the region has also received support from politics. In July 2012, an initial meeting with ministerial representatives of the southern neighbourhood region was held in Brussels, aimed at strengthening cooperation in higher education.

The new EU education programme Erasmus+ will give the neighbourhood region special priority within the scope of international higher education partnerships. The intention is for Erasmus+ to expand measures familiar from today’s Tempus programme and supplement these with mobility funding.

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