The European Higher Education Area is being reinforced: 24 new alliances have been announced as part of the European Universities Initiative. In total, there are now 41 European universities, composed of 280 institutions from Erasmus+ countries. Switzerland is not represented.

The European Commission has presented the 24 additional European universities that will join the 17 alliances of higher education institutions already in place since 2019. The selected projects will receive up to five million euros from Erasmus+ and up to two million euros from Horizon 2020 for the next three years.

These universities will also intensify cooperation between their institutions, students and teaching staff as well as pool their physical and online resources, courses and data, expertise and infrastructure. By moving closer together, they will expand their ability to meet current challenges. In doing so, they are contributing to green change and to greater inclusion and digitisation, which benefits their students and all Europeans alike.

The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has shown that deeper cross-border, interdisciplinary and intercultural cooperation is the only way to recover from this crisis and become more resilient. These European universities play a key role in the European educational area.

The European Higher Education Initiative is an example of how Europe will build on complementary funding programmes in the future, which are strongly linked and rely on synergies between education, research and innovation. The initiative provides new and transformative systemic impetus for European higher education and increases quality standards and hence the competitiveness of the entire European Higher Education Area.

Swiss universities cannot participate in the Erasmus+ initiative for European Universities because Switzerland has not participated in the European education programme since 2014. This entails risks of marginalisation because Swiss universities cannot actively participate in the future development of common quality standards and in the shaping of the European Higher Education Area.