The agreement can set an example for automatic recognition throughout Europe. Other countries within the EHEA are welcome to join.
On September 27, the Benelux and Baltic states signed a new multilateral agreement on the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications. The six signatory countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands) have further deepened cooperation in higher education.
This unique interregional agreement can serve as an example of automatic recognition throughout Europe. Thanks to this treaty, higher education degrees and diplomas obtained in one of the states mentioned above will be recognized in all other countries that have signed the agreement. This should foster international cooperation and mobility between the Baltic and the Benelux countries. The agreement is also open to other European Higher Education Area (EHEA) countries, including the Czech Republic.
The Benelux and Baltic states are building on already existing cooperation within and between these regions. They had agreements on mutual recognition of higher education qualifications already in place, but they were not as complex as the new one. During the preparations, the agreement was consulted with the European Commission and the reforms of higher education systems in all six countries were analyzed – including the quality as well as transparency of assessment and recognition of qualifications. It was confirmed that the Baltic and Benelux systems are in line with EHEA principles and that there are no major differences between them.
The key element of this cooperation is trust – both trust in diplomas and qualifications recognized by other countries and trust in the validity of European and international cooperation. In addition to recognition, quality assurance and transparency are important pillars of the agreement. Countries interested in joining this agreement must therefore ratify the Lisbon Convention, have a quality assurance system reflecting European standards in place and adhere to the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning to ensure transparency.