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Europass - guide

20 June 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 20 June 2008

Europass is a new way of helping people to make their skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe (European Union, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries); and to move anywhere in Europe. Europass consists of five documents: two documents (Europass curriculum vitae (CV) and Europass Language Passport) you can fill in yourself; and three other documents (Europass Certificate Supplement, Europass Diploma Supplement and Europass Mobility) filled in and issued by competent organisations.


What is Europass? What purpose does it serve?

The Europass initiative aims at helping citizens make their qualifications and competences clearly and easily understood throughout Europe. Europass is the name given to a coordinated portfolio of documents, which will in particular improve the communication between job applicants and employers, regardless of borders. This will facilitate occupational mobility – between countries as well as between sectors - and will promote and add value to mobility in education and training.

Which documents are included in Europass?

There are five European transparency documents.

Two Europass instruments can be completed directly by all citizens:

The Europass CV, which is the backbone of the whole portfolio. With a common structure in all languages, it helps people highlight their competences. Citizens can complete it directly through the Europass Internet portal, with the support of online help and examples.

The Europass Language Portfolio, which allows a detailed description of language skills and their development, which in today’s Europe are more important than ever. A part of this document, called the Europass Language Passport, has the form of a simple template and can also be completed online through the Europass portal.

The other three Europass instruments are issued by competent organisations to citizens who have achieved a particular learning experience:

The Europass Mobility is a record of experiences of transnational mobility for learning purposes – in vocational training as well as in higher education. It is completed by the home and host organisations that are involved in the mobility project.

The Europass Diploma Supplement is issued along with a higher education diploma, by the same university or institution. It outlines the student’s educational pathway, making it easier to understand, in particular by potential employers.

The Europass Certificate Supplement is issued along with a vocational education and training certificate, to clarify the competences acquired by the persons who hold that certificate.

Why does the Commission think that 3 million citizens will use Europass by 2010?

Everyone involved in Community programmes’ mobility actions, about 300,000 people every year, will receive Europass Mobility documents – which will also be issued to people moving outside these programmes.

The Europass Diploma Supplement should in principle be issued to all graduates of higher education, while all citizens who achieve a vocational training programme should receive a Europass Certificate Supplement. Not all universities and schools may be ready from the beginning to do that, but at least 300,000 citizens every year should receive one of these two Europass documents.

The threshold of three million Europass should therefore be reached by 2010 – taking into account only those Europass documents that are issued to citizens by the competent organisations.

We should also take into account the large number of citizens that will only use the Europass CV and the Europass Language Passport, accessing them directly through the portal.

Why were only these five documents included in the Europass and not other ones?

These five documents were all established at European level, they are available free of charge and they already cover qualifications and competences acquired throughout the whole life of a person. However, Europass is an open framework, and other elements could be added in future, namely to cover specific sectors or sets of skills. In the Decision itself mention is made of the need to focus on computer related competences. Work is also being carried out towards a document that can highlight competences acquired through youth related work. Several sectors are also working on documents that target their specific transparency needs.

If these documents already exist, why bring them together? What is the added value?

Bringing the documents together into a single framework, widely promoted under a single label and logo, will make them easier to access, better known, more effectively managed. Being an integral part of a coordinated system - that will make the object of information campaigns - adds value to each element, namely in terms of social recognition and acceptance. The Europass documents are communication tools, therefore making them more widely known means making them more effective in their task, which is helping citizens to make their competences and qualifications easier understood and appreciated throughout Europe.

Does Europass provide financial support to mobility, like Erasmus or Leonardo?

No, such support is provided through the various existing programmes. Financial support for mobility is important, and the Commission has proposed a significant increase in the budget for mobility actions starting from 2007.

Europass complements the existing programmes: it promotes mobility by making it easier and adding value to it through better transparency. This is also important, and this is what Europass will do.

How does Europass contribute to increasing mobility in the European Union?

Europass makes qualifications and competences easier to understand, which is particularly helpful when people move from one country to another, for either learning or occupational purposes, or from one sector to another. As far as occupational mobility is concerned, Europass makes communication easier between employer and job applicant, as its various elements focus on the competences of the applicant and they have the same format in all languages. Europass also promotes mobility in education and training, giving it more value through the Europass Mobility and facilitating communication in admission procedures for people who apply for an education or training initiative.

Does Europass only concern those who take part in mobility actions funded through Community programmes?

No, this is absolutely not the case. First of all, the Europass CV and Language Passport are available on the Internet for use by everybody. Second, many people who will receive a Europass Diploma Supplement or Certificate Supplement will not have been beneficiary of a Community programme. All beneficiaries of mobility projects within Community programmes like Erasmus and Leonardo will receive a Europass Mobility, but many other people who achieve mobility experiences outside any Community programme will also receive a Europass Mobility.

Can Europass lead to recognition of qualifications?

Recognition of qualifications is not in itself an objective of the Europass initiative. Europass is about transparency, not about legal recognition – it improves mutual understanding and acceptance in the many situations where legal recognition is not necessary. Europass is therefore a complement to the legislative regime for the recognition of professional qualifications, which should be applied when legal recognition is necessary. As concerns academic recognition, Europass can make it easier, because improving the transparency of qualifications facilitates the work of the authorities responsible for academic recognition.

Is there not the risk that Europass pushes towards harmonisation of education and training systems, going beyond the Community competence in this field?

No, on the contrary: the rationale for transparency instruments developed at Community level is that national systems are different. We need Europass because our education and training systems are different and because in Europe we speak many languages – and we do not plan to change that. The diversity of education and training systems is an asset for Europe, and improving transparency is a guarantee to keep this diversity within the European learning area.

Is it not possible that the use of an Internet portal exclude citizens who do not have access to it?

In Europe, in 2005, it is not possible to launch a similar initiative without using new information and communication technologies. Using Internet widens the opportunities for use and electronic forms are easier to complete. However, all documents will still be available on paper, and citizens who cannot access the Internet can call their National Europass Centre and ask for paper versions.

Is there no danger for the confidentiality of personal data?

Documents completed through the portal are then downloaded as self-standing electronic files, not included as records in databases. It is possible that national authorities decide to set up databases at national level. In this case they have to ensure the respect of all privacy protection provisions – as expressly provided by the decision.

Integrated instruments have been developed and are in use at national or regional level. What is the added value of Europass?

The Commission is aware of these instruments, which were taken into account during the development of Europass. These tools and Europass are complementary. National and regional instruments are conceived for use within the borders of a country or region. Europass is conceived for use throughout Europe and is available in all the languages of the European Union with a common format. It will particularly help people to have their competences and qualifications understood and appreciated when they move to another country or when they come back from another country.

How will the Europass initiative be financially supported?

Support for the first two years was already envisaged in the proposal. For the years after 2006, the Commission has proposed further support within the new integrated programme for lifelong learning.

Source: European Commission