How does the Bologna Process work?
The Bologna Follow-Up Group
The Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG) oversees the Bologna Process between the ministerial meeting.
The BFUG meetings play an important role in overseeing the implementation of the ministerial Communiqués as well as in developing the Bologna Process.
The Bologna Process, launched with the Bologna Declaration, of 1999, is nowadays implemented in 48 states, which define the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Every two or three years there are Ministerial Conferences organised in order to assess the progress made within the EHEA and to decide on the new steps to be taken. In order to ensure the implementation of the steps upon which the Ministers have decided, the EHEA makes use of several support structures:
- Bologna Follow-Up Group - BFUG
- BFUG Board
- BFUG Secretariat
- Working Groups and Bologna Seminars
Role of the Bologna Follow-Up Group
The Bologna Follow-Up Group - BFUG - is the executive structure supporting the Bologna Process in-between the Ministerial Conferences. It is in place since autumn 1999. The BFUG is entrusted with:
- preparing the Ministerial Conferences, policy forums;
- overseeing the Bologna Process between these;
- and taking forward matters that do not need to be decided by the Ministers or that have been delegated by the Ministers.
Ministers entrust the implementation of all the issues covered in the Communiqué, the overall steering of the Bologna Process and the preparation of the next ministerial meeting to a Follow-up Group.[...] A Board [...] shall oversee the work between the meetings of the Follow-up Group. [...] The overall follow-up work will be supported by a Secretariat which the country hosting the next ministerial Conference will provide.
Source: Berlin Communiqué, 19 September 2003.
The proceedings outline the structure of the BFUG and the way of operating in the 2015-2018 period.
The Secretariat presented the draft BFUG proceedings and its annexes at the BFUG Meeting 50 Amsterdam 7-8 March 2016. The proceedings where adopted.
BFUG Proceedings 2015-2018
BFUG membership is based on the membership of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The EHEA currently has three categories: member, consultative member and partner.
- EHEA/BFUG Member: the members are the 48 countries and the European Commission
- Consultative member: this is a non-voting category of members who represent stakeholder organisations and other institutions that have a European scope to their work and are instrumental in the implementation of the Bologna Process.
- Partner: organisations that wish to be associated with the Bologna Process/the BFUG but are not included in the Consultative member category.
- Further technical experts, such as Eurostat, Eurostudent or Eurydice may be associated to the BFUG and invited to events upon specific request.
Chairmanship: BFUG Co-chairs and BFUG Vice-chair
The current chairing arrangements foresee that the Bologna Process will be co-chaired by the country holding the EU presidency and a non-EU member country. Moreover, the host country of the next Ministerial conference is nominated as the Vice-Chair.
The BFUG meetings play an important role in overseeing the implementation of the ministerial Communiqués as well as in developing the Bologna Process. The BFUG meets at least once every six months, usually for one-and-a-half days.
BFUG meetings are in principle hosted by one of the EHEA Co-Chairs and are convened at least once every six months.
The BFUG has the possibility to set up working groups to deal with specific topics in more details and, also, receives input from Bologna Seminars.
Such as expressed in the Work Plan 2015-2018, BFUG and consultative members have been invited to express their interest in participating in one or more Working Groups (WGs) or Advisory Groups (AGs) and as co-chair by completing a declaration of participation, provided by the Secretariat. All WGs/AGs are open to participation from BFUG members, experts nominated by national authorities, consultative members and international experts proposed by the group.
The BFUG decides on the Terms of References of the Working and Advisory Groups and decides which of the recommendations of the Working/Advisory Groups will be proposed to the Ministers. If it deems necessary, the BFUG may also provide an opportunity for all members and consultative members to express their views on the recommendations and reports.
The work between two meetings of the Bologna Follow-up Group is overseen by a Board.
The BFUG board is an advisory committee for the Chairs and the Secretariat to prepare the BFUG meetings. The responsibilities of the Board were defined by the BFUG during its meeting in Rome, the 14th November 2003. It also deals with the Working and Advisory Groups, since one co-chair of each WG/AG is member of the BFUG board meetings.
The current members of the Board are:
- the BFUG Co-Chairs double Troika (the outgoing, present and incoming Co-Chairs of the BFUG);
- the BFUG Vice-Chair;
- the European Commission;
- four of the consultative members (Council of Europe, EUA, ESU, EURASHE);
- one of the co-chairs of each working and advisory group.
The Co-Chairs and Vice-Chair of the BFUG are the same for the Board.
The Board usually meets at least one month (preferably six weeks) before each BFUG meeting. The host of the Board is normally one of the EHEA Co-Chairs.