Will the Universities Survive the European Integration? Higher Education Policies in the EU and in the Netherlands before and after the Bologna Declaration
Sociologia Internationalis 44.2006:123-151

Keywords: universities, reform of universities, academia and politics, politics and academia, EU universities, Bologna Declaration, education and politics, European universities, neo-liberalism and education, economics and education, commercializing education

##On June 19th, 1999 the joint ministers of education of the EU countries issued a statement which has become known as the Bologna Declaration. Although the declaration itself was only one and a half page long, its impact on the educational landscape of Europe is generally seen as enormous, because it contained a blueprint for one unified EU-wide educational system based on "the Anglo-Saxon model". So with some justification, the Bologna Treaty has been presented as the beginning of a new phase in the history of European integration. In this article I argue, however, that this picture of a "brand new start" in Bologna is completely misleading as far as the Netherlands are concerned, The continuities in Dutch educational policies before and after the Bologna Declaration are far more striking than its discontinuities. In the first part of the article I go into the Bologna Declaration and its accompanying policy statements, like the Paris and the Lisbon Declarations. I argue that the economic definitions of higher education in these EU-policy statements are basically the same as the definitions followed by the (neo-liberal) World Trade Organsation (WTO) and the General Agreement of Trade and Tariffs (GATT) - and GATS - the General Agreement of Trade in Services - in particular. I also argue that this line of policy basically endangers democratic control over higher education. In the second part of this article I go into the anticipation of the neo-liberal conception of higher education in the Netherlands. Beginning in the early 1980"s successive Dutch governments had already embarked on a policy course, in which higher education was basically seen and handled primarily in economic terms and was seen in its function for the "knowledge economy". This conception can be traced to socalled "New Public Management" policy. I analyze these continuities concentrating on: 1. the representation of (higher) education as a "product" like any other; 2. the representation of educational institutions as "enterprises" like any other, fundamentally obeying to the economies of scale; 3. the transformation of all notions of academic "quality" into quantifiable "output" indicators; and 4. the central importance of managerial control mechanisms. The aricle agues that the general relevance of the "Dutch model" for other EU countries lies in the fact that the the Dutch case broadly foreshadows what will happen to other EU-countries when Bologna polices will be put into practice.##