IFUT have received the following confirmation from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science:
Please be advised that Minister Harris has given his approval for Ireland to become a signatory to the Statement by Member States of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) on Consequences of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
The key aim of the statement is to signal support for higher education in Ukraine and to suspend Russia’s rights of representation on all structures and activities of the EHEA including the Bologna Follow Up Group, working groups, task forces, peer learning groups and similar structures. A copy of the statement and an information note on the Bologna Process/EHEA are attached for information.
The statement condemns in the strongest terms the armed attack on Ukraine by the Russian Federation in violation of international law and calls, inter alia, for the following actions:
- The BFUG to suspend Russia’s rights of representation in all structures and activities of the EHEA, including the BFUG, working groups, task forces, peer learning groups and similar structures. This would also be extended to any EHEA member states who may assist Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
- All members and consultative members of the EHEA to offer support for higher education in Ukraine. In the immediate, this may include financial support for Ukrainian institutions, intensifying cooperation and generally ensuring the continued involvement of Ukrainian students and staff in European higher education. In the longer run, it may include assistance in rebuilding destroyed infrastructure at higher education institutions, other recovery support and increased academic exchanges.
- All members and consultative members of the EHEA to enable Ukrainian students or potential students to continue or access higher education if they have to flee Ukraine or are unable to return. This may include offering places of study, with the necessary finance, as well as providing visas and residence permits and opening borders to refugees. Such assistance should be provided by all member countries of the EHEA, and not only by those who share a border with Ukraine.
- That the above measures must extend beyond the immediate emergency: once accepted in a study programme, students should be allowed to complete the programme even if the situation in Ukraine would make it possible to return earlier.
- All members and consultative members of the EHEA to offer refuge and provisional work opportunities for academic staff who have to flee Ukraine or who cannot return. The exact arrangements will need to be adapted to the development of the situation in Ukraine.
- All members and consultative members of the EHEA to extend similar assistance to foreign students and staff who are unable to pursue their studies or work at Ukrainian higher education institutions.
- All members and consultative members of the EHEA to cease contact and cooperation with any central government agency of Russia or any other country that actively supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to ensure that they only engage in cooperation with organizations and institutions from Russia where these are clearly based on shared European values.
- Recognize the courage shown by those members of Russian civil society who are engaging in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in spite of great personal risk and ask all members and consultative members of the EHEA to offer support and protection to members of the Russian higher education community taking a public stance against the invasion.
The statement has been signed by the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the Ukraine alongside the European Commission, Council of Europe, European Students’ Union and the European University Association. The statement has been published on the Czech Ministry of Education’s website available here with regular updates as more signatories sign up.
The Department is now making the necessary arrangements to inform the BFUG secretariat that Ireland wishes to sign the statement.