By signing the Bologna Declaration in 1999, the European Ministers of Education declared their willingness to establish by 2010 the single European Higher Education Area (E.H.E.A.), namely to harmonize the structure of studies in Europe. The E.H.E.A. included the improvement of the recognition of diplomas, as well as the promotion of the mobility and the European cooperation in matters of quality assurance.
Implementing the above most European countries has established national institutions for quality assurance. The Bologna process was launched through a programme of work that received guidelines by biennial ministerial conferences (2001 Prague, 2003 Berlin, 2005 Bergen, London 2007 and Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve 2009).
The Conference of European Ministers of Education in Berlin (2003) entrusted the ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) to develop an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance. The text drafted by ENQA "Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area" was adopted at the next meeting in Bergen (2005).
Quality assurance is foreseen at three different levels: