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Edited by Roger King, Simon Marginson and Rajani Naidoo
Chapter 15: European Higher Education and the Process of Integration
Jussi Välimaa INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the roles the European Union (EU) plays in the globalization of higher education. It begins by explaining briefly the nature and the political structures of the EU, followed by an analysis of how higher education has become an important policy domain in the EU and, finally, it reflects on how the EU promotes globalization in and for European higher education institutions. In the field of higher education the EU plays the role of a globalizing regional actor that aims at creating a European Area of Higher Education (EAHE) and European Research Area (ERA) by relying on the Bologna Process and the Lisbon Strategy. Both of these processes aim at strengthening Europe as a knowledge-based economy and society in a global competition with other regions of the world. The influence the EU has on higher education cannot, therefore, be explained as a straightforward policy implementation process; there are many actors in the EU and the nature of the EU is basically a voluntary and often mercurial process of integration. To understand the interplay between the different actors in the EU requires a historical approach to understand the processes of integration between European nations and states. According to the EU, ‘The European Union . . . is not a State intended to replace the existing states, but it is more than just another international organization. The EU is, in fact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so...
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