On 28 and 29 April 2009, the Ministers responsible for higher education in the then 46 countries of the Bologna Process met in Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve to establish the priorities for the European Higher Education Area until 2020. They highlighted in particular the importance of lifelong learning, widening access to higher education, and mobility. By 2020, at least 20% of those graduating in the European Higher Education Area should have had a study or training period abroad.
Ten years after the historical Bologna Declaration that structurally reshaped European higher education, another Ministerial Conference was held in Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), which - for the first time - was also broadcasted live via Internet.
The Benelux Ministers Frank Vandenbroucke and Marie-Dominique Simonet (Flemish and French Community of Belgium), Ronald Plasterk (Netherlands) and François Biltgen(Luxembourg) had invited their European Colleagues in charge of higher education in the then 46 countries participating in the Bologna Process, to jointly define political orientations for the coming 10 years.
The conference took place at the historical location of the ancient University of Louvain - the oldest higher education institution in the Benelux founded in 1425 - of which the modern universities Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven) and Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) share the legacy. The choice for universities as conference venue had also symbolic value. The Benelux countries wanted to give clear visibility to the substantial role the academic community plays in the achievement of the Bologna goals. Bologna is more than mere convergence of policies set by public authorities. Higher education institutions, staff and students all together have made an impressive contribution to the implementation and will continue to define the shape of the European Higher Education Area.
With the Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué, the Ministers from 46 European countries established the priorities for the European Higher Education Area until 2020.They highlighted in particular the importance of lifelong learning, widening access to higher education, and mobility and agreed that by 2020 at least 20% of those graduating in the European Higher Education Area should have had a study or training period abroad.