The Bologna Process, launched with the Bologna Declaration, of 1999, is one of the main voluntary processes at European level, as it is nowadays implemented in 48 states, which define the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Every two or three years there are Ministerial Conferences organised in order to assess the progress made within the EHEA and to decide on the new steps to be taken.
The previous Ministerial Conferences have taken place in Bologna, 18-19 June 1999 - Prague, 18-19 May 2001 - Berlin, 18-19 September 2003 - Bergen, 19-20 May 2005 - London, 17-18 May 2007 - Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, 28-29 April 2009 - Budapest/Vienna, 10-12 March 2010 - Bucharest, 26-27 April 2012 - Yerevan, 14-15 May 2015.
Ministers decide at Ministerial Conferences about the central aspects of the EHEA, including its further developments and commitments by its member countries. The Ministerial Conference also decides on new applications for membership to the EHEA as well as any other main changes to the process.
A communiqué is adopted at each Ministerial Conference that outlines decisions taken by the Ministers.
The Bologna Follow-Up Group - BFUG - is the executive structure supporting the Bologna Process in-between the Ministerial Conferences. It is in place since autumn 1999.
The work between two meetings of the Bologna Follow-up Group is overseen by a Board.
BFUG membership is based on the membership of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The EHEA currently has three categories: member, consultative member and partner.
The BFUG / EHEA members are 48 countries and the European Commission.
To become a member of the EHEA, countries have to be party to the European Cultural Convention and to declare their willingness to pursue and implement the objectives of the Bologna Process in their own systems of higher education.
Consultative members is a non-voting category of members who represent stakeholder organisations and other institutions that have a European scope to their work and are instrumental in the implementation of the Bologna Process.
The current eight EHEA consultative members are: Council of Europe (CoE), UNESCO, European University Association (EUA), European Association of Institutions of Higher Education (EURASHE), European Students’ Union (ESU), European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), Education International (EI) and BUSINESS EUROPE.
EQAR has a similar status to the consultative members (non-voting member of BFUG), but has so far not been officially named consultative member.
Partners are organisations that wish to be associated with the Bologna Process/the BFUG but are not included in the Consultative member category. At present, the following four organisations are BFUG partners: the European Association for International Education (EAIE), the Council of European professional and managerial staff (Eurocadres), Eurodoc, the European Association for Promotion of Science and Technology (Euroscience). They can, upon request, attend BFUG events and may be invited by a WG/AG to send an expert who will participate to the work.
Further technical experts, such as Eurostat, Eurostudent or Eurydice may be associated to the BFUG and invited to events upon specific request.