The European Commission supports a range of international education and training activities. These activities are an essential part of the EU's international policies and are becoming increasingly important.
There are four goals:
Activities are focused in particular on higher education because of its importance in the development of modern societies and its key role in social, cultural and economic development.
The European Commission's international co-operation programmes in higher education and training include:
Issues such as the mobility of teachers and students, and the recognition of qualifications, quality and excellence are priority areas for both Europe and its partners. The EU can share its expertise in areas such as benchmarking, lifelong learning, key competences and qualification frameworks. One recent example was the "Tuning in the World: New Degree Profiles for New Societies" Conference, which took place in November 2012 and is feeding the internationalisation of higher education and policy dialogue.
Through such "policy dialogues" with partner countries, the Commission can highlight the attractiveness of EU education and training worldwide, while both sides benefit from sharing experiences and expertise.
The EU is working within regional policy frameworks to promote education and training as a way to connect EU citizens with their neighbours and enhance mutual understanding.
Examples of this include the recently launched "Eastern Partnership" and "Southern Partnership" involving the EU Neighbouring countries, where education, training, youth and culture are key to building closer connections between people from different countries and regions.
With the aim to improve mutual understanding a Seminar on Doctoral Studies in the EU's Neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans was organised where the findings of a study on the organisation of doctoral programmes in the region were presented and different visions discussed.
The Commission is working on establishing the legal and financial framework for the participation of EU candidate and potential candidate countries in its internal education and training programmes.
In March 2012, the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training was launched by Director-General Jan Truszczynski as a new policy dialogue instrument with the region.
The European Commission has made agreements with several countries and co-operates with them through comparative studies, workshops and conferences on themes of common interest.
In 2012, the EU signed a joint declaration on education and training with the Republic of South Africa.