At the end of his latest post, Dean Danos rightly identifies the crux of the matter about Bologna when he says that it does not address the fundamental issue of adequately funding education. The problem has not even been raised yet in the discussions of the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG), i.e. the group of different stakeholders responsible for pushing the Bologna process beyond national governments. The BFUG is working well taking into account the diversity and different agendas of its members and the complexity of its mission. It is currently focused on identifying the key stakeholders and defining quality processes.
However, the key issue is how to finance the implementation of Bologna. There is no calculation of its estimated cost nor knowledge about whether financial support will come from the public, the private sectors, or from both. Strangely enough, there was no item in the 2004 EU (big as it was: 109 billion Euros) devoted to education nor any provision for the implementation of Bologna. You probably know that the major portion of the EU budget is dedicated to agriculture. Imagine what could be done by assigning just a little chunk of it to education!
Every reform in the European Union happens in a gradual and sequential fashion. Take the example of the started accession negotiations with Turkey, approved by the EU yesterday; something we should celebrate. The road to this decision involved many years of intense analysis and negotiations and it will still take a further decade to culminate. It is the EU style of development and institution- building. It is a detailed and intricate, sometimes tortuous, system, but once it is completed, there will be no way back. Some people accuse the system of being too bureaucratic, but in fact in the long run it works better than other systems of multilateral integration. The same will happen with Bologna. The first stages now are centered on harmonizing the different exisiting systems in Europe, establishing procedural norms and quality-assement frameworks. Once this stage is completed, the players will progressively confront more complicated issues, leaving for dessert the crucial matter of financing.