Council of Europe

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is oldest European political organization in activity. It was founded in 1949 to advocate freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities in Europe. It also helps member states fight corruption and terrorism and undertake necessary judicial reforms. Presently it has 47 member states, 28 of which also belong to the European Union. On the 22nd of September 1976, Portugal became its 19th member state.

The Council of Europe’s activities in the field of higher education are based on common democratic principles and on the values of the European university heritage. Freedom to learn, teach and research are fundamental values, as well as the administrative autonomy of higher education institutions. Particular emphasis is also given to the contribution to the European Higher Education Area, the recognition of qualifications, the public responsibility in higher education and in research, the reform of higher education in former Eastern block countries, the promotion of the access to higher education, as well as heritage conservation.

The Directorate-General for Higher Education follows up issues related to higher education and represents Portugal in the following bodies:


Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice

This Committtee advises and guides the Ministers’ Committee in all aspects of the Council of Europe’s Programme for Education, developing an assertive and coherent vision of the role of education since preschool up to higher education, in a lifelong learning perspective, paying particular attention to issues related to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and multicultural dialogue. It meets once a year with the participation of all member-states and observers.


Committee for the Lisbon Recognition Convention

This Committee was created in 1999 to monitor the implementation of the Lisbon Recognition Convention, a reform established in partnership with UNESCO, in the framework of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area, in order to harmonise the system for the recognition of qualifications and diplomas.