College of Europe

At the Congress of Europe in The Hague in 1948, the Spanish writer Salvador de Madariaga proposed the creation of an international college in which talented young people from across Europe might study and live together. The College of Europe was founded the following year, in conjunction with Denis de Rougemont’s European Cultural Centre, as the first specialised institute of European studies in the post-war world. The College is located in the centre of Bruges, Belgium and today has some 400 students from over 45 countries. It offers one-year Master’s courses in four disciplines – politics and public administration, international relations, economics and law – focusing on issues of European integration. It also undertakes a variety of training courses for outside bodies. In 1992, an additional facility was opened at Natolin, south of Warsaw, where the College enjoys the use of a 120-hectare park, including an historic royal hunting lodge that served as an élite entertainment centre for senior Communist officials before 1989. The Natolin campus offers a Master’s degree in interdisciplinary European studies.

The College of Europe has some 40 full-time teaching staff and around a hundred visiting professors drawn mainly from the faculties of foreign universities and practitioners within the EU institutions. The College is a private academic body, although it receives much of its funding from the budgets of the European Union and the Belgian, Polish and other governments. The languages of instruction are English and French. The deadline for applications for admission is in mid-January each year. The lecture to mark the opening of the College’s academic year in Bruges each autumn is normally delivered by a well-known European personality. A celebrated example was the so-called Bruges speech given by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in September 1988, which was followed by a riposte from Commission President Jacques Delors the following year.

September 2012

Copyright: Anthony Teasdale, 2012

Citation: The Penguin Companion to European Union (2012), additional website entry

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