logoECA Winter Seminar “Mutual recognition and the Bucharest Communiqué” took place in the NVAO premises in The Hague on January 17, 2013.
Recognition and "automatic recognition" are important topics in the Bucharest Communiqué. As ECA has been working on mutual recognition since 2003, this event was organized with a clear idea in mind: to stimulate the debate and exchange of ideas on recognition issues. The statements regarding recognition of the latest EHEA Ministerial Conference were explored in the light of the latest developments in this field.
About 50 participants from 13 countries could benefit from the contributions of carefully selected speakers. Indeed, an interesting discussion would not be possible without major stakeholders clearly expressing their points of view.  Thus, speakers from the following organisations ignited a successful debate: the European Commission (DG Education & Culture); Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG), European Students Union (ESU), Association of the Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Association of Flemish University Colleges (VLHORA), Nuffic, and ECA.
Different models of recognition ranging from “case by case” to “trust based” and “automatic” were discussed. The participants were invited to vote and comment on the most stirring statements. The participants unanimously voted YES on the inclusion of QA information in all recognition decisions. The majority of voters (≈80%) was neither in favour of a “case by case” (≈5%) nor of “automatic” (≈15%) recognition, but favoured intermediate solutions with various levels of using Bologna tools and instruments such as the EAR manual.
The commitment of three new agencies (ZEvA & FIBAA – Germany and CNA – Colombia) to sign the Multilateral Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Accreditation Results regarding Joint Programmes (MULTRA) is an illustration of the fact that evidence and trust based mutual recognition might presently be the most suitable solution.
As recognition is undeniably important for the promotion of international education and cross-border mobility of students and staff, the EAR manual of ENIC-NARICs and the MR Agreements of ECA need support from HEIs and governments to achieve close collaboration between them but also with recognition bodies and QA/accreditation agencies to overcome recognition problems with confidence.
We are happy to share with you all presentations and documents used during the seminar.