The EQF is a common European reference framework which links countries' qualifications systems together, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable. It has two principal aims: to promote citizens' mobility between countries and to facilitate their lifelong learning.
The EQF was formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 23 April 2008.  The EQF text is available at: DeutschEnglishFrançais
On 24 October 2007, the European Parliament voted in favour of adopting the Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF).

The EQF will link countries' qualifications systems, acting as a translation device to make qualifications more readable to Member States, employers and individuals and so enable individual citizens to move to another country to work or study.
Following the agreement between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the EQF will be formally adopted by the Council in the coming weeks.
At the national level, the EQF will, and is indeed already doing this, promote the development of national qualifications frameworks (NQFs). Qualifications frameworks promote lifelong learning by, for example, making it easier for people to move between different types of education and training institution, for example between higher education and vocational education and training.
As an instrument for the promotion of lifelong learning, the EQF encompasses general and adult education, vocational education and training, as well as higher education. It applies to all types of qualifications from those achieved at the end of compulsory education to those awarded at the highest level of academic and professional or vocational education and training.
The core of the EQF is its eight reference levels describing what a learner knows, understands and is able to do - their 'learning outcomes' - regardless of where a particular qualification was acquired. The EQF reference levels therefore shift the focus away from the traditional approach, which emphasises learning inputs (length of a learning experience, type of institution). Shifting the focus to learning outcomes:

  • supports a better match between the needs of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and competences) and education and training provisions;
  • facilitates the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and training systems.

The EQF foresees that Member States relate their national qualifications systems to the EQF by 2010 and that their qualifications contain a reference to the EQF by 2012. It will therefore enable individuals and employers to use the EQF as a reference tool to compare the qualifications levels of different countries and different education and training systems, for example vocational training and higher education.
The EQF is therefore an example of a common European reference developed in close cooperation with the countries and for their citizens' benefit.
>> Frequently asked questions about EQF English
See the background to the development of the EQF, including information on the consultation process.
On 24 October 2007, the European Parliament approved the Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The EQF will provide a common language to describe qualifications which will help Member States, employers and individuals compare qualifications across the EU’s diverse education and training systems. The adoption of the proposal follows almost 2 years of consultation across Europe. Following the agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the EQF will be formally adopted by the Council before the end of 2007.
A general approach was subsequently agreed in the Education Committee and endorsed by the November 2006 Council.  The EQF will continue to legislative co-decision procedure in the Parliament and Council during 2007.
Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, said: “People in Europe too often face obstacles when they try to move from one country to another to learn or work, or when they want to build upon previous education or training. The EQF will help to solve that problem: it will make different national qualifications more understandable across Europe, and so promote access to education and training. Once adopted, it will increase mobility for learning or working. We believe the EQF is a key initiative in creating more jobs and growth, helping people in Europe to face the challenges of a globalising, knowledge-based world economy.”
The proposal is one of the concrete outcomes of the “Education and Training 2010” work programme established after the Lisbon European Council in 2000, and was specifically called for by the 2005 and 2006 Spring European Councils. It was developed following an extensive consultation with Member States, the social partners and other stakeholders. It forms part of the Community Lisbon Programme, actions put forward by the Commission in support of the Member States’ efforts to secure the objectives for social and economic development agreed in March 2000.
See the background to the development of the EQF, including information on the consultation process, the two conferences and associated documents.
The core element of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is a set of eight reference levels describing what a learner knows, understands and is able to do - their 'learning outcomes' - regardless of the system where a particular qualification was acquired. The EQF reference levels therefore shift the focus away from the traditional approach, which emphasises learning inputs (length of a learning experience, type of institution). Shifting the focus to learning outcomes

  • supports a better match between the needs of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and competences) and education and training provisions;
  • facilitates the validation of non-formal and informal learning;
  • facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and training systems.

As an instrument for the promotion of lifelong learning, the EQF encompasses general and adult education, vocational education and training, as well as higher education. The eight levels cover the entire span of qualifications from those achieved at the end of compulsory education to those awarded at the highest level of academic and professional or vocational education and training.
The draft recommendation foresees that Member States relate their national qualifications systems to the EQF (by 2009). It will therefore enable individuals and employers to use the EQF as a reference tool to compare the qualifications levels of different countries and different education and training systems, for example vocational training and higher education. The EQF will function as a type of translation device to make relationships between qualifications and different systems clearer.
The EQF will therefore help European education and training systems become more transparent and accessible to the general public.
The EQF proposal was approved by the European Parliament on 24 October 2007:
>> DG EAC published on 25 May the second Call for Proposals to test and develop the EQF. The Call aims to support projects in developing and testing the EQF, including national and sectoral qualifications frameworks. Details of the Call can be accessed at: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/static/en/llp/eqf/index_en.htm
Presentation given by Commissioner Ján Figel'on 12 July at the Informal Meeting of Education and Training Ministers in London.

Education and Training