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Benelux and Baltic States Lead the Way in Diploma Recognition


On Monday, May 13th, 2024, the Résidence Palace in Brussels will host a landmark event signaling a significant stride toward the completion of the European Higher Education Area. The Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg – together with the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – are extending an invitation to other European nations to join their pioneering treaty on automatic diploma recognition for higher education.

The treaty, which came into force on May 1st, 2024, marks the culmination of years of collaborative effort aimed at dismantling bureaucratic barriers and reducing additional costs associated with the recognition of diplomas across borders. Rooted in the recognition of the value of education and the free movement of students and professionals within Europe, this initiative is poised to set a new standard for cooperation within the European Union.

The genesis of this endeavor traces back to 2015 when the Benelux countries initiated the automatic recognition of certain diplomas, a move mirrored by the Baltic States shortly thereafter. Recognizing the mutual benefits of expanding this system to encompass all six countries, these regions have emerged as trailblazers, demonstrating proactive leadership in promoting  inclusivity within the EU.

The event, scheduled to commence at 6:30 PM at Résidence Palace, will feature dignitaries and representatives from the fields of education, policy, and international organizations. Education ministers from the Benelux and the Baltic States will deliver opening remarks.

A panel discussion, moderated by Deputy Minister Agnè Kudarauskiené of Lithuania, will provide a platform for representatives of international education organizations, including the European Students’ Union and the European University Association, to share insights and perspectives on the implications of automatic diploma recognition for higher education in Europe. A video message from UNESCO will further enrich the dialogue, emphasizing the global significance of this initiative.

Michel-Etienne Tilemans, Deputy Secretary-General of Benelux, will deliver closing remarks, reflecting on the journey thus far and setting the stage for continued collaboration and progress.

The event will culminate in a cocktail dinner, providing attendees with an opportunity to network.

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