change font dimension

A- A A+

change layout site

change the site contrast

screen reader

Council Recommendation on Promoting Automatic Mutual Recognition

To reach the ambitions for learning mobility of the European Education Area and the Erasmus+ Programme, European Union Member States adopted a Council Recommendation on promoting automatic mutual recognition of higher education and upper secondary education and training qualifications and the outcomes of learning periods abroad on the 26 November 2018 (hereinafter “Council Recommendation”) . In this Council Recommendation, Member States agreed to put in place measures to achieve automatic recognition for further learning by 2025.

Automatic Recognition is understood in this context as follows:

  • a qualification at higher education level gained in one Member State is automatically recognised in any other Member State, for the purpose of granting access to further studies;
  • all credits gained during the period of study abroad or during the virtual mobility, as agreed in the Learning Agreement and confirmed by the Transcript of Records, should be transferred without delay and counted towards the student’s degree without any additional work or assessment of the student;
  • an upper secondary qualification giving access to higher education in one Member State is automatically recognised in any other Member State, for the purpose of granting access to higher education;
  • the outcomes from a learning period of up to one year abroad in another Member State during upper secondary education and training are recognised in any other, with the learner not being required to repeat the programme year or achieved learning outcomes in the country of origin, provided that the learning outcomes are broadly in line with the national curricula in the country of origin.

This does not prejudice the right of the other Member States' authorities to verify the authenticity and the level of the qualification and if it really gives access to higher education in the Member State of issuance. However, this verification does not involve any separate recognition procedure. 

Automatic recognition does not prejudice the right of higher education institutions to set specific criteria for admission to their specific programmes.

The Council Recommendation builds on already existing initiatives in the field of higher education, such as the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Full implementation of the tools developed in the context of the European Higher Education Area, such as the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, the Framework of Qualification for the European Higher Education Area and the three-cycle system can substantially enhance the trust between the member states and support the implementation of the Council Recommendation.

The importance of automatic recognition is further emphasised in the Council Resolution on achieving the European Education Area by 2025, adopted on 26 February 2021. It is highlighted as a priority area for European cooperation in education and training during the first cycle (2021-2025): “Strengthening automatic mutual recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad for the purpose of mobility and further learning, while ensuring that quality assurance mechanisms provide a strong basis for public trust for further learning and safeguard the autonomy of higher education institutions. Automatic recognition of joint transnational activities and the recognition and portability of short courses, where appropriate, should be developed.”

The implementation of the Council Recommendation is crucial for enabling and increasing mobility of learners in all educational fields and for making the new Erasmus+ Programme 2021-27 a success. It is a key element for implementing the European strategy for universities and the Council Recommendation on building bridges for effective European higher education cooperation, adopted in April 2022.