Network’s constitutive charter


Mobility in Europe is one of the most striking examples of the construction of a continent-wide area where exchanges are becoming ever more numerous. The success of the Erasmus+ programme, which has just celebrated its 35th anniversary, and the significant increase in the European funds allocated to this programme until 2027, are all signs that show a real craze for these experiences of mobility. They are an integral part of the training of European youth and gradually being valued and recognised.

We are currently experiencing a period rich in changes for these mobility paths. Long limited to academic exchanges between higher education institutions, a growing number of new audiences are also aspiring to participate in these mobility experiences: apprentices, job seekers, student entrepreneurs, volunteers, etc. In addition, many higher education and research institutions are pursuing the development of international partnerships, such as the European University Alliances, and in this sense are in line with the objective of the Bologna process to build a “European education area”.

Mobility is evolving in many ways, and we must therefore evolve with it! Initially considered as a matter for European institutions and agreements between higher education institutions, the issue of support, development and accompaniment of mobility has gradually been taken up by local representatives. If the territorial dimension of mobility experiences is still underestimated, cities have become aware of their role in supporting them. They have the legitimacy to lead the territorial consultation with all mobility stakeholders, and even to facilitate the emergence of a genuine local strategy to develop – quantitatively and qualitatively – mobility paths. Finally, they play a key role as an interface with individuals during their mobility experiences, whether in terms of transport, housing, cultural life or, more generally, quality of life.

It is in this context that the European Network of University Towns fits in: to encourage cooperation between local authorities on a European scale to support these growing and changing mobilities, and to develop partnership projects between local authorities on our continent on these issues.

To do this, we already have a valuable instrument to facilitate the emergence of European cooperation: twinning and partnership agreements between cities. The support of pre-existing reflexes of cooperation and close exchanges between authorities constitutes a particularly relevant entry channel to introduce this issue of support for mobility paths in the first instance, before constituting an autonomous network within which anyone is free to contact and cooperate with the desired authority.

This European Network of University Towns is thus conceived as a flexible instrument, at the service of local authorities that are more or less advanced in their international cooperation or support for mobile students, that do not have the same means of action, and that do not necessarily experience the same difficulties or needs. This is why the five principles set out below are more a set of practices promoted between the participants in this network, rather than a set of binding commitments for the authorities.

  1. Contribute to the sharing of good practices and contacts between partner cities on a European scale in order to increase support for mobility schemes.
  2. To improve the conditions under which mobility takes place, as well as the support provided to people before, during and after their mobility experiences.
  3. Diversify the mobility pathways, beyond academic exchange programmes, and consequently introduce new target groups into the support and development policies for mobility: people from working-class backgrounds or in vulnerable situations, apprentices, young graduates seeking employment, etc.
  4. Enrich the mobility pathways and encourage a genuine citizenship dimension to them, in order to create lasting links between mobile people and the host and departure territories.
  5. Encourage consultation and cooperation with all the players likely to be involved in mobility: universities, training establishments, the voluntary sector and other organisations involved in student life and mobility.
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