College of Europe

College of Europe
Collège d’Europe
College of Europe logo
Type Postgraduate institute
Established 1949 (1949)
Rector Jörg Monar
Academic staff
Students 420 postgraduates from over 50 countries
Location Bruges, Belgium
Natolin (Warsaw), Poland
Campus Residential
Working languages English and French

The College of Europe (French: Collège d'Europe) is an independent university institute of postgraduate European studies with the main campus in Bruges, Belgium. It was founded in 1949 by such leading European figures and founding fathers of the European Union as Salvador de Madariaga, Winston Churchill, Paul-Henri Spaak and Alcide De Gasperi in the wake of the Hague Congress of 1948 to promote "a spirit of solidarity and mutual understanding between all the nations of Western Europe and to provide elite training to individuals who will uphold these values"[1] and "to train an elite of young executives for Europe."[2] It has the status of "Institution of Public Interest", operating according to Belgian law. Since 1993 the college has also had an additional smaller campus in Warsaw, Poland.[3]

Students are usually selected in cooperation with their countries' ministries of foreign affairs, and admission is highly competitive. The number of students each year used to be very low—for several decades less than 100—but has increased since the early 1990s. The College of Europe is bilingual, and students must be proficient in English and French. Students receive a master's degree (formerly called Diploma and Certificat) following a one-year programme. Traditionally, students specialise in either European law, international economics (i.e., European economic studies), or European political and administrative studies; in recent years, additional programmes have been created.

According to The Times, the "College of Europe, in the medieval Belgian city of Bruges, is to the European political elite what the Harvard Business School is to American corporate life. It is a hothouse where the ambitious and talented go to make contacts".[4] The Economist describes it as "an elite finishing school for aspiring Eurocrats."[5] The Financial Times writes that "the elite College of Europe in Bruges" is "an institution geared to producing crop after crop of graduates with a lifelong enthusiasm for EU integration."[6] European Commissioner for Education Ján Figeľ described the college as "one of the most emblematic centres of European studies in the European Union".[7] The BBC has referred to it as "the EU's very own Oxbridge".[8] The college has also been described as "the leading place to study European affairs"[9] and as "the elite training center for the European Union's political class".[10] RFE/RL has referred to the college as "a Euro-federalist hot-spot."[11] The Global Mail has described its students as "Europe's leaders-in-waiting."[12]

Each academic year is named for a patron and referred to as a promotion. The academic year is opened by a leading European politician. The College of Europe in Belgium shares several traditions with the École nationale d'administration (ENA) of France,[13] but has a more European focus. Its anciens include the former Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb, the former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg as well as Minister for Europe of Italy Enzo Moavero Milanesi, several of whom have also been professors at the college. Many of its anciens go on to serve as diplomats and senior civil servants in European institutions.


The College of Europe was the world’s first university institute of postgraduate studies and training in European affairs. It was founded in 1949 by leading European figures, such as Salvador de Madariaga, Winston Churchill, Paul-Henri Spaak and Alcide De Gasperi, in the wake of the Hague Congress of 1948. They imagined a college where Europe's future leaders, some from countries only a short while before at war with each other, could live and study together. The Hague Congress also led to the creation of the European Movement.

A group of Bruges citizens led by the Reverend Karel Verleye succeeded in attracting the college to Bruges. Professor Hendrik Brugmans, one of the intellectual leaders of the European Movement and the President of the Union of European Federalists, became its first Rector (1950–1972).

After the fall of communism, and in the wake of the changes in Central and Eastern Europe, the College of Europe campus at Natolin (Warsaw, Poland), was founded in 1993 with the support of the European Commission and the Polish government. The college now operates as ‘one College – two campuses,’ and what was once referred to as the ‘esprit de Bruges’, is now known as the ‘esprit du Collège’.

In 1998, former students of the college set up the Madariaga – College of Europe Foundation, which is presided over by Javier Solana.

The number of enrolled students has increased significantly since the 1990s.

The College of Europe originally had no permanent teaching staff; the courses were taught by prominent academics and sometimes government officials from around Europe. Especially in the last couple of decades, the college has increasingly employed professors and other teaching staff on a permanent basis.


Admission to the College of Europe is highly competitive. Application may be made to national selection committees or by direct application to the College of Europe for individuals from a country where no selection committee exists.[14] As of 2014, there are 28 national selection committees.[15]


Bruges campus

The College of Europe campus "Dijver" in Bruges
The College of Europe campus "Verversdijk" in Bruges

The Bruges campus is situated in the centre of Bruges, which was appointed European Capital of Culture in 2002. Bruges is located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, a Dutch-speaking area, although the college does not use Dutch as one of its working languages.

It consists of the following campus buildings:


The college's main administrative building on the Bruges campus, with the reception, offices, classrooms and the library.


Since 2007 the Verversdijk buildings of the College of Europe provide additional auditoria, teaching rooms and offices for academics, research fellows and staff and will allow the college to extend its activities.


The Hotel Portinari in Garenmarkt 15 with its classical façade was formerly home to Tommaso Portinari, the administrator of the Florentine "Loggia de Medici" in the 15th century in Bruges. It contains eleven apartments for professors and forty student rooms, two "salons" in 19th-century style, the "salon du Recteur" with 18th-century wall paintings and a modern "Mensa" for students.


The college has a system of residences in the centre of Bruges and not far from the Dijver where the main administrative and academic building and the library are situated. None of the residences lodges more than 60 students so that each residence in fact has its own small multinational and multicultural environment.

Natolin campus

Potocki Palace in Natolin

The Natolin Warsaw campus of the college was established in 1992 in response to the revolutions of 1989 and in anticipation of the European Union’s enlargement.

Today, the Natolin campus is part of a 120-hectare historical park and nature reserve—formerly the Royal hunting palace of Natolin—situated in the southern part of Warsaw about 20 minutes by metro from the city centre. The Natolin European Centre Foundation takes care of the complex and has conducted restoration of the former Potocki palace, making it available for the college.

The old historical buildings, including the manor house, the stables and the coach house, were converted to the needs of modern times and new buildings were constructed in a style keeping with the harmony of the palace and its outlying park.

Academic programmes

The one-year programme lasts from September until the end of June and is taught in English and French. It includes lectures, research seminars, workshops and meetings with external specialists and various language courses. To be awarded the degree, students must take oral and written examinations at the end of each semester, and submit a 15 ECTS master’s thesis in English or French. The thesis gives students the opportunity to undertake individual research, conducted primarily in the second semester, under the supervision of a faculty member. The programmes are enriched by study trips to the European institutions and, for students at Natolin (Warsaw), also to neighbouring countries. Due to the college’s extensive network of contacts, students have the opportunity to meet and discuss with policy-makers, practitioners and representatives of the business community throughout their year at the college.

From 1949 to the 1990s, students in Bruges enrolled in three programmes:

In recent years, other programmes have been created:

At Natolin (Warsaw) campus, the study programme European Interdisciplinary Studies offers four majors: European Public Affairs and Policies, The EU as a Global Actor, European History and Civilisation, and The European Neighbourhood Policy and the EU's Neighbours.

The academic programmes of the College of Europe are accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). Each study programme corresponds to a total of 66 credits (ECTS).

Annual intakes are highly selective and student selection takes place in the Spring, usually in association with the foreign affairs ministries of their respective countries of origin. The Bruges programmes typically require a university degree in economics, law, political science or international relations plus advanced knowledge of the working languages of the college.


Since its establishment, the College of Europe in Bruges traditionally awards three degrees, in law, economics and political and administrative studies. The degrees are today known as:

  1. Master in European Law (LLM)
  2. Master of Arts in European Economic Studies (MEES)
  3. Master of Arts in European Political and Administrative Studies (MEPA)

Newer degrees include:

  1. Master of Arts in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies
  2. Master of Arts in European Interdisciplinary Studies

Currently, the master's degree requires a 15 ECTS master's thesis in English or French, while the rest of the academic year consists of courses and lectures.

Until the 1980s, the master's degree was officially known as the Certificate of Advanced European Studies (French: Certificat de Hautes Études Européennes) followed by the specialisation (law, economics or political and administrative studies). As part of European standardisation, the degree was renamed into the first three master's degrees listed above.

Bronisław Geremek Memorial Scholarship

The European Civilization Chair at the Natolin Campus offers full scholarships annually to graduates in History and related subjects who wish to follow the postgraduate programme in European Interdisciplinary Studies. The scholarship was set-up by the European Parliament in honour of the late Bronisław Geremek, Polish politician, government minister, MEP and medievalist. Geremek Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses.

Geremek scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduates who wish to combine further historical studies with European studies, as well as for graduates in related disciplines who wish to study History in an interdisciplinary European context. The holders of these scholarships are automatically entered for the major in European History and Civilization and write their Master’s Theses on a topic relating to European history and/or European civilisation, approved by the Chairholder.

A number of alumni of the scholarship have gone on to become leaders in diverse fields such as politics, government and civil service, economics and finance, arts, academia and law.

Governing bodies

The Administrative Council, presided by Mr Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, Spanish Minister for European Affairs and former Member of the European Parliament, includes representatives of the countries hosting the two campuses in Bruges (Belgium) and Natolin (Warsaw) and of European governments. It is the highest decision-making authority, and is responsible for the approval and implementation of the college’s objectives and activities of the college on the rector's proposal.

The Executive Committee exerts the delegations which were entrusted to him by the Administrative Council. Reporting to the Administrative Council, the it ensures the sound financial and administrative management of the College. The Rector & Vice-Rector Rector Jörg Monar directs and coordinates the College’s activities, and is assisted by the Vice-Rector, Ewa Ośniecka-Tamecka, who is responsible for the day-today administration of the campus in Natolin (Warsaw).

The Academic Council represents the academic community of the College of Europe and ensures the maintenance and development of high level teaching activities and research. It is chaired by the Rector.


The rector directs and coordinates the college’s activities.

Vice rectors

The vice rector is responsible for the day-today administration of the Natolin (Warsaw) campus.

Presidents of the Administrative Council

Notable alumni

Many former students of the College, referred to as anciens (French for alumni), have gone on to serve as government ministers, members of various parliaments, diplomats and high-ranking civil servants and executives.

A list of all anciens from 1949 to 1999 is included in the book The College of Europe. Fifty Years of Service to Europe (1999), edited by Dieter Mahncke, Léonce Bekemans and Robert Picht.

Alumni of note of the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium (from 1949) include:

Alumni of note of the College of Europe in Natolin, Poland (from 1993) include:


Academic years at the College are known as promotions. Each promotion is named after an outstanding European, referred to as the promotion's patron. The College of Europe shares this tradition with the French École nationale d'administration (ENA).

The opening ceremony each year is presided over by a prominent politician, referred to as the Orateur; they have included Angela Merkel, David Miliband, Jean-Claude Juncker, Javier Solana, José Manuel Barroso, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand. Being invited as the college's Orateur is considered a high honour.[18]

List of promotions
Year Name of promotion (Patron) Students Speaker at opening ceremony (Orateur)
Bruges unless otherwise noted
Notable anciens
Bruges unless otherwise noted
2016–2017 John Maynard Keynes Jean-Claude Juncker (Bruges) and Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (Natolin)
2015–2016 Frédéric Chopin 479 Alexander Stubb (Bruges) and Johannes Hahn (Natolin)
Alexander Stubb
2014–2015 Falcone & Borsellino 437 Mariano Rajoy (Bruges) and Petro Poroshenko (Natolin, cancelled)
2013–2014 Voltaire 445 Íñigo Méndez de Vigo (Bruges) and Bronisław Komorowski (Natolin)
2012–2013 Václav Havel 444 Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Bruges) & Vladimir Filat (Natolin)
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
2011–2012 Marie Sklodowska-Curie 448 Giorgio Napolitano (Bruges) & José Manuel Barroso (Natolin)
2010–2011 Albert Einstein 435 Angela Merkel (Bruges) & Štefan Füle (Natolin)
2009–2010 Charles Darwin 402 Jerzy Buzek (Bruges) & Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Natolin)
2008–2009 Marcus Aurelius 381 Yves Leterme (Bruges) & Hans-Gert Pöttering (Natolin)
2007–2008 Anna Politkovskaya & Hrant Dink 415 David Miliband (Bruges) & Carl Bildt (Natolin)
2006–2007 Nicolaus Copernicus 413 Jean-Claude Juncker (Bruges) & Alaksandar Milinkievič (Natolin)
2005–2006 Ludwig van Beethoven 384 Javier Solana (Bruges) & Viktor Yushchenko (Natolin)
2004–2005 Montesquieu 404 José Manuel Barroso (Bruges) & Josep Borrell Fontelles (Natolin) Nikola Poposki
Nikola Poposki
2003–2004 John Locke 391 Joschka Fischer (Bruges) & Danuta Hübner (Natolin)
2002–2003 Bertha von Suttner 370 Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (Bruges) & Erhard Busek (Natolin)
2001–2002 Simon Stevin 365 Aleksander Kwasniewski (Bruges) & Guy Verhofstadt (Natolin)
2000–2001 Aristotle 375 George Papandreou (Bruges) & Jan Kulakowski (Natolin)
1999–2000 Wilhelm & Alexander von Humboldt 374 Jacques Delors (Bruges) & Jean-Luc Dehaene (Natolin)
1998–1999 Leonardo da Vinci 337 Jean-Luc Dehaene (Bruges) & Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant (Natolin)
1997–1998 Hendrik Brugmans 326 Antonio Guterres (Bruges) & Ursula Stenzel (Natolin)
1996–1997 Alexis de Tocqueville 319 Wim Kok (Bruges) & Aleksander Kwasniewski (Natolin) Ledi Bianku
1995–1996 Walter Hallstein 306 Klaus Hänsch (Bruges) & Jacques Santer (Natolin) Aude Maio-Coliche
1994–1995 Ramon Llull 296 Juan Carlos I of Spain (Bruges) & Andrzej Olechowski (Natolin) Valerie Plame, Alexander Stubb, Alyn Smith (Natolin)
Valerie Plame
1993–1994 Stefan Zweig 263 Thomas Klestil Geert Van Calster
1992–1993 Charles IV 264 Jacques Santer Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Stephen Kinnock
Stephen Kinnock
1991–1992 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 212 Flavio Cotti Nick Clegg, Árni Páll Árnason, Luis Garicano, Miriam González Durántez
Nick Clegg
1990–1991 Hans & Sophie Scholl 245 Richard von Weizsäcker
1989–1990 Denis de Rougemont 200 Jacques Delors
1988–1989 Christopher Dawson 204 Margaret Thatcher David McWilliams, Sylvie Lucas, Gry Tina Tinde
1987–1988 Altiero Spinelli 178 François Mitterrand
1986–1987 William Penn 177 Ruud Lubbers
1985–1986 Christopher Columbus 158 Felipe Gonzalez Chris Hoornaert, Margaritis Schinas
1984–1985 Madame de Staël 123 Altiero Spinelli
1983–1984 Jean Rey 133 Garret FitzGerald Marc van der Woude, Fiona Hayes-Renshaw, Carine Van Regenmortel, Christian Lequesne
1982–1983 Joseph Bech 122 Gaston Thorn
1981–1982 Johan Willem Beyen 123 Bruno Kreisky Xavier Prats Monné, Mary O'Rourke, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Margunn Bjørnholt, Peter Arbo, Bernadette Andreosso-O'Callaghan, Karl Cox
Enzo Moavero Milanesi
1980–1981 Jean Monnet 131 Simone Veil Philippe Régnier
1979–1980 Salvador de Madariaga 140 Dries van Agt Ursula Plassnik, Andrew Tyrie, Martin Donnelly, Marc Jaeger
Ursula Plassnik
1978–1979 Paul-Henri Spaak 130 Guy Spitaels Claudia Kahr, Bruno de Witte
1977–1978 Karl Renner 128 Mario Soares Louise Fréchette, Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff, Holger Michael, Thomas Mayr-Harting
1976–1977 Peter Paul Rubens 120 Leo Tindemans Jonathan Faull
1975–1976 Adam Jerzy Czartoryski 101 Edgar Faure David O'Sullivan
1974–1975 Aristide Briand 111 Herman De Croo Simon Hughes
1973–1974 Giuseppe Mazzini 92 Karl Otto Pöhl Manuel Marín, Ioanna Babassika
Manuel Marín
1972–1973 Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi 59 George Brown, Baron George-Brown Jo Leinen, Poul Skytte Christoffersen, Jaap de Zwaan
1971–1972 Dante Alighieri 58 Altiero Spinelli & Hendrik Brugmans Loukas Tsoukalis, Iwo Byczewski
1970–1971 Winston Churchill 57 Jean Rey & Hendrik Brugmans Luc Coene, Niels Egelund
1969–1970 William the Silent 49 Prince Albert of Belgium & Hendrik Brugmans Berno Kjeldsen
1968–1969 Konrad Adenauer 47 Robert van Schendel & Hendrik Brugmans Robert Verrue
1967–1968 Comenius 54 Alfons de Vreese Nuala Mole, Helen Wallace, Lady Wallace of Saltaire
1966–1967 George C. Marshall 56 Jean Rey & Hendrik Brugmans Goenawan Mohamad
1965–1966 Thomas More 52 Hendrik Brugmans Adrien Zeller, Josef Joffe, Nigel Forman
1964–1965 Robert Schuman 45 Salvador de Madariaga & Hendrik Brugmans Lars-Jacob Krogh
1963–1964 Thomas Paine 48 Hendrik Brugmans Helmut Türk
1962–1963 August Vermeylen 46 Pierre Harmel & Hendrik Brugmans György Schöpflin
1961–1962 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 37 Hugo Geiger & Hendrik Brugmans Albert Rohan
1960–1961 Saint-Simon 38 Hendrik Brugmans Leif Terje Løddesøl
1959–1960 Sully 43 Hendrik Brugmans Torolf Raa, Gabriel Fragnière
1958–1959 Fridtjof Nansen 40 Hendrik Brugmans Franz Ceska, Frans Alphons Maria Alting von Geusau
1957–1958 Henry the Navigator 40 Hendrik Brugmans Guy Spitaels
1956–1957 Raoul Dautry 36 Hendrik Brugmans Jim Oberstar
1955–1956 Virgil 33 Hendrik Brugmans Francesco Paolo Fulci
1954–1955 Alcide De Gasperi 36 Hendrik Brugmans
1953–1954 Erasmus 39 Hendrik Brugmans Ian McIntyre
1952–1953 Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk 40 Hendrik Brugmans Jon Ola Norbom, Otto von der Gablentz
1951–1952 Juan Vives 30 Hendrik Brugmans
1950–1951 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 35 Hendrik Brugmans Werner Ungerer, Gaetano Adinolfi
1949 Préparatoire (no name) 22 Victor Van Hoestenberghe & Salvador de Madariaga

Lecturers and professors

Research and development

The College houses several academic chairs as well as the Global Competition Law Centre. It publishes several books every year, four series of working papers and an academic journal called Collegium, devoted to the European integration process.


International conferences have been held at the College since it was founded. These events have become fora for informed discussion on topics that are complementary to the academic expertise of the College, like the annual conference on Humanitarian Law, organised in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is also common to have several European prime ministers deliver a speech during the academic year.


Since the early 1980s, the College has developed a relevant consultancy activity, especially in the field of analysis of EC law. Based on the College's first experiences with service contracts, notably in the field of codification of European Law and related to the implementation of the Internal Market, the Development Office was created to participate in tender procedures and to manage the teams of researchers working under these service contracts.

Over the past 10 years, the College of Europe has been organising cooperation projects funded by various EU programmes, either in consortia with academic partners, companies and law firms, or on its own account. Under TEMPUS programmes, projects for curriculum building in European Studies were set up. With the EU’s PHARE, TACIS and CARDS funding the College provided professional training and consultancy in EU affairs in nearly all applicant countries, in Russia and in the CIS. In addition the Office has also involved the College in similar co-operation projects in the framework of the MED-CAMPUS Programme and more recently with EuropeAid funding in Latin America and Asia. The Development Office is now involved in professional training projects and European Studies programmes held in Europe and abroad.

The College has started to organise professional training courses and seminars on European integration issues with partners such as professional, trade and other associations, private companies and administrations. Officials from the European institutions and national administrations have attended tailor-made training programmes.

See also


  1. "Le rôle du Collège d'Europe" [The role of the College of Europe], Journal de Bruges et de la Province, 7 October 1950, Vol. 114, No. 78, p. 1
  2. Henri Brugmans, "Former des cadres pour l'Europe" [Training executives for Europe], Fédération, January 1950, No. 60, pp. 42–44
  3. "College of Europe – College of Europe – Campuses – Natolin (Warsaw)". Retrieved 2012-06-26.
  4. Jonathan Oliver (25 April 2010). "Which way will Nick Clegg turn?". The Times. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. "Charlemagne: Free the Strasbourg 626". The Economist. 5 February 2004. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  6. Tony Barber (20 April 2010). "Europe in joyous disbelief over Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  7. "The Commissioners – Profiles, Portfolios and Homepages" (PDF). Europa (web portal). Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  8. Adam Fleming (25 October 2013). "College of Europe in Bruges: Home of Thatcher speech". BBC. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  9. Nicholas Hirst (18 October 2011). "The Bruges mafia". Flanders Today. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  10. Richard Orange (23 September 2011). "Meet 'Gucci Helle,' slated to be Denmark's first female prime minister". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  11. Rikard Jozwiak (28 October 2011). "Training The 'New Europeans' – The College Of Europe Breeds The EU Elite". RFE/RL. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  12. Eric Ellis (7 February 2012). "Europe's leaders-in-waiting face the mess ahead". The Global Mail. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  13. Tim Soutphommasane (19 November 2011). "Government by nerds one step from tyranny". The Australian. Retrieved 20 November 2011. It is no accident that institutes such as the celebrated Ecole Nationale d'Administration in France or the College of Europe in Belgium produce so many political leaders.
  14. "College of Europe – Admission – Academic requirements". Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  15. "College of Europe – Admission – Selection Committees". Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  16. New York University website
  17. eLabEurope website
  18. "College of Europe – College of Europe – History – Opening ceremonies". Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  19. Chairholder for Geopolitics at the College of Europe
  20. "Chair of European Civilisation at the College of Europe". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  21. "Leszek Balcerowicz at the College of Europe". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  22. "Andrea Biondi at King's College London". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  23. "Aleš Debeljak web page". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  24. "Alyson Bailes at College of Europe". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  25. "Valentine Korah at University College London". 25 February 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  26. "Jacques Rupnik at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  27. Stefan Collignon. "Stefan Collignon web page". Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  28. 1 2 College of Europe | Collège d'Europe Brochure

Further reading

External links

Media related to College of Europe at Wikimedia Commons

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.