The experience of the UNITA Alliance within the current EU legal framework was the subject of an article published in the International Journal of Film and Media Arts. The article was written by Barbara Gagliardi (Università di Torino), Arnaud Lecourt (Université de Pau and Pays de l'Adour), Irina Macsinga (West University of Timisoara), Marcella Costa (Università degli Studi di Torino) and Mario Giacobini (Università degli Studi di Torino).
The recent launch of EU university alliances has demonstrated that the European Union's legal system lacks a legal form with capacity specifically designed for the needs of inter-university cooperation. The development of university cooperation at European level is closely related both to the needs of the single market and to those of a functioning economic and social cohesion for a more effective protection of the rights of European citizens. The absence of legal instruments explicitly designed for institutionalised cooperation may hinder successful alliance action.
The "European Universities" networks were launched by the European Commission with the aim of proposing the "bottom-up" networking of EU Higher Education Institutions to enable students to obtain a degree by combining their training in different member states, contributing to the competitiveness and internationalisation of the institutions. European universities are transnational alliances which will pave the way for the universities of the future, promoting European values and identity and revolutionising the quality and competitiveness of European higher education.
The alliances, which include partners from all types of higher education institutions and cover a wide geographical scope across Europe, are based on a co-conceived long-term strategy focusing on sustainability, excellence and European values. They aim to adopt a challenge-based approach according to which students, academics and external partners can cooperate in interdisciplinary teams to tackle the biggest problems facing Europe today.
However, the EU's competence in higher education is limited to supporting, coordinating and complementing the actions of member states. The absence of a harmonising competence circumscribes the EU's possibilities for intervention and, above all, prevents the provision of EU degrees that can replace national degrees.
However, the allocation of funding allows for policies capable of effectively influencing member states' systems (see, for example, the EU's experience in the common agricultural policies sector).
In this context, the limits of the existing tools could be almost partially overcome by the adoption of new regulations or directives, which allow for institutionalised cooperation between universities.
The existing solutions offered by the EU legal system are not entirely satisfactory, however, some of them may be useful: among them, the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) is particularly interesting.
Some of the existing grouping models - even if thought up for other purposes - allow for statutes that are at least partly capable of fostering the institutionalisation of partnerships, thus constituting useful tools to facilitate the deepening of cooperation through the sharing of human and technical data, education, research and innovation capacities.
The choice of a legal form governed by EU law has the obvious advantage of providing a common legal framework for the partner universities and thus ensuring potential homogeneity in the interpretation of the relevant rules. The various clusters are in fact regulated by European regulations, i.e. acts of general application and "binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all member states". The various clusters are regulated by European regulations, i.e. acts of general application and "binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all member states".
The International Journal of Film and Media Arts is an open access, promoted by the FilmEU - European Universities Alliance for Film and Media and Film and Media Arts Department - Lusófona University, Lisboa, Portugal. IJFMA is a semiannual publication focusing on all areas of film and media arts research and critique, namely animation, television, media arts and videogames, and their varied social and cultural forms of expression and materialization.