Is the Europe of Knowledge the talk of the town? Exploring how members of the European Parliament refer to higher education
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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While the European Parliament is increasingly involved in EU governance, its role in policy developments in domains of strategic importance for the EU has not been the focus of many studies. In this article, we analyse a new digital dataset containing more than 10,000 speeches delivered in the European Parliament plenary between 1999 and 2014 and identify patterns related to temporal increase or decrease in the Parliament's focus on higher education, the topics linked to higher education discussions and patterns concerning the country and party group affiliation of the European Parliament members who speak about higher education. Our findings suggest that the total number of speeches, either specifically dedicated to higher education, or mentioning higher education when addressing other issues, did increase over time and particularly during the adoption of action programmes and related budgetary decision. Furthermore, higher education was less referred to in the Parliament speeches as a stand‐alone issue than in relation to other policy areas in which the EU has strong jurisdiction. Finally, our findings indicate that the variance in whether a Member of the European Parliament speaks about higher education is more closely linked to country of origin than party affiliation, highlighting the persistent national dimension of higher education discussions at the European level. These findings attest to the increasing – yet largely overlooked – role of the European Parliament in higher education policy making.
Under embargo until: 2021-01-30