The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) and the University of Antwerp are the four Belgian participants in the first Alliances of European Universities, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.
The alliances are to come up with a joint long-term strategy and promote European values and identity. The initiative is aimed at strengthening the mobility of students and university staff, and improving the quality, inclusiveness and competitiveness of higher education in Europe.
The 17 alliances link 114 institutions of higher education in 24 member States.
The ULB is part of the European Civic University (CIVIS) alliance, along with the universities of La Sapienza (Rome), Stockholm, Tübingen, Bucharest and Aix-Marseille, the Kapodistrian University of Athens, and the Autonomous University of Madrid.
Its Flemish counterpart, the VUB, joins the European Universities Transforming to an Open, Inclusive Academy for 2050 (EUTOPIA) alliance, with the universities of Göteborg, Warwick, Cergy-Pontoise, and Ljubljana, and the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona.
The KUL is involved in UNA Europa, alongside the universities of Bologna, Edinburgh and Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, the Free University of Berlin, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Jagellonian University in Krakow.
Finally, the University of Antwerp is in the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) alliance, which further includes the universities of Bremen, Maastricht, Cyprus and Essex, Charles III University of Madrid, Rome’s Tor Vergata university, and the University of the East of Finland.
Students will be able to design their own curricula leading to a European Degree. Students, academics and external partners will also cooperate in teams covering different disciplines to tackle big issues, such as climate change, sustainable agriculture, Europe is facing today.
The Central European University in Budapest is one of the selected universities. Despite protests by EU, the university has been banned by the Hungarian government and will be relocated to Vienna. At a press briefing (26 June) in Brussels, a Commission spokesperson said that its position was clear.
The Brussels Times