European University to be Established in the Upper Rhine Region

Signature of the declaration

The Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, the President of the Grand Est region, Jean Rottner, and the Rectrice of the Académie de Strasbourg, Sophie Béjean, have expressed their firm intention to continue to develop Eucor – The European Campus into a European university by jointly signing the relevant declaration in the presence of Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister of European Affairs, and Theresia Bauer, the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research and the Arts.

“Science is a force that drives European integration. We believe that the hitherto excellent cross-border cooperation by the research universities of the Upper Rhine region indicates the added value that Europe can obtain from the vigor and shared vision of European universities. So this signing should also send a signal to Europe regarding the high political value we place on a European academic union,” said Winfried Kretschmann in Strasbourg.

For his part, Jean Rottner emphasized that “Eucor – The European Campus unites the five major universities of the Upper Rhine region and is a priority for the Grand Est region. With over 15,000 researchers and teachers, and 115,000 students, the Upper Rhine region represents a border-free scientific and academic area, an area that promotes the exchange of knowledge. Therefore the Grand Est region wishes to be a partner to this ambitious grouping, and in turn increase its attraction. In addition the region wants to help the grouping to develop and thus strengthen its position in the field of cross-border university cooperation. In the long term our universities will become a flagship project for future-oriented European success.”

“I am delighted to represent the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, which supports the principle of a diversity of models for European universities, including the model for cross-border university groupings. Eucor – The European Campus already has many advantages for development into the European University. There are already cooperations and projects in several academic areas, offering benefits to doctoral students and researchers. In future the priority will be placed on the mobility of students on degree programs that are recognized by the five partner universities. In this way Eucor – The European Campus will enable students to really experience Europe!” added Sophie Béjean.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, President of Eucor – The European Campus and Rector of the University of Freiburg said, “I am delighted about the clear commitment from both sides of the Rhine to continue developing our university grouping into a European university. We have a common strategy, shared governance, and are organized in accordance with European law, so we want to adopt a pioneering role in order to enable border-free European teaching and research. Europe will become an everyday experience for everyone at our universities.”

The declaration follows on from the speech on European policy at the Sorbonne on 26th September 2017, by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, when he called for the formation of “European universities”. The signatories also affirm that the European model of the University must be distinguished by research and teaching being closely interlinked: “It must in fact take an approach with a comprehensive strategy that considers the fields of research and teaching equally. Only through a combination of both can true European added value be generated.” Eucor – The European Campus is the ideal embodiment of this model. In addition they stressed that only a “joint commitment by the universities, and at regional and national levels as well as from the European Union” can lead to success and affirm their willingness to act to create a “clear framework and reliable development promises at national and European levels”.

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