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Home arrow Education arrow Higher Education Institutions in the EU: Between Competition and Public Service



The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the position of higher education institutions (HEIs) in European policy (EU and beyond) and to discuss potential spill-over from directly applicable EU law.[1] It will be shown that the EU hard law framework contains limited competences in devising policies regarding HEIs. Instead, policy is often made through soft law at the EU and European (beyond EU) level. Nevertheless, other provisions of EU law have already spilled over into the area of HEIs influencing national policy concepts. Ongoing commodification could increase this effect, thereby endangering the traditional non-economic mission of European HEIs as explored in Chap. 1 (Sect. 1.3.1).

The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part (Sect. 2.2) explores how HEIs are positioned within EU policy and law and what reasons might be behind this. The second part (Sect. 2.3) is dedicated to the examination of potential ‘accidental’ effects EU law might have on HEIs in overview. The chapter ends in a conclusion (Sect. 2.4) bringing together the results and leading to the next chapter which provides a more in-depth appreciation of such effects of competition law on HEIs.

  • [1] A condensed version of this chapter is contained in Gideon 2015.
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