Monday, March 17, 2008

Fifth freedom

According to the EUobserver, the EU leaders in their Spring Summit have suggested that a "fifth freedom" should be added to the four existing ones that form the basis of the Union. So far, persons, capital, services and goods have been given free movement (or rather, providing it is the work in progress) and now "knowledge" should follow suit.

This is to boost the competitiveness of Europe, an initiative launched with the Lisbon declaration. This has struggled from the beginning, and it has turned out to be very difficult to turn words into actions, not to mention results. This time, the plan is to increase the mobility of students, teachers and researchers, and further reforms of higher education system are promised.

This sounds good in principle, it remains to be seen what this will mean in practice. But on a more symbolic level, adding a fifth freedom is big.

And did we hear about it in the news? No. But that's not a surprise, we didn't hear much about the decision to take part in the NRF, or even the decision on next years budget (including controversial decisions on university funding. All we hear in the news these days is this or that about the minister for foreign affairs, this idiot "dancer" and the text messages. Again, and again, and again...

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