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The history of Europass

In 1998, the European Commission and Cedefop set up the European forum on transparency of vocational qualifications to bring together social partners with representatives of national training authorities around the issue of transparency.

The tasks of the forum were:

  • To remove obstacles to mobility due to a lack of transparency of vocational qualifications;
  • To stimulate dialogue on existing initiatives, instruments and institutions;
  • To encourage the implementation of existing political solutions;
  • To consider new initiatives.

The work of the forum resulted in the development of:

  • Two documents (The European CV and the Certificate Supplement);
  • A network of National Reference Points for Vocational Qualifications (NRPs).

Europass includes three other documents, developed at European level in the late 1990s:

  • The Diploma Supplement was created jointly by the European Commission, Council of Europe and Unesco, for use by higher education institutions throughout Europe and elsewhere to complement the degrees they award. Its use is recommended in a number of policy documents, including the 1999 Bologna Declaration and by the 2001 Council and European Parliament Recommendation on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, volunteers, teachers and trainers (OJ L 215 of 9.8.2001). The Diploma supplement is increasing in popularity amongst higher education institutions, and European countries have agreed to make its use widespread (see the Berlin Communique of Ministers). The design and the use of the DS are closely linked to the European Credit Transfer System.
  • The Europass Language Passport made available on this website is part of the European Language Portfolio, developed by the Council of Europe, in which citizens can record their language skills on the basis of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • Europass Mobility replaced Europass Training - established by the Decision 1999/51/EC of the Council - and became available in 2000. Europass Training was a document recording work placement experiences abroad, as part of an education or training initiative. More than 100 000 Europass Training documents were issued in the years 2000-2004. Europass Mobility has a wider scope, as it can also record experiences other than placements, such as academic periods abroad.

In 2002, the European forum on the transparency of vocational qualifications was replaced by a technical working group, whose mandate – following a demand expressed in the Copenhagen Declaration was the following:"increasing transparency in vocational education and training through the implementation and rationalisation of information tools and networks, including the integration of existing instruments such as the European CV, Certificate and Diploma Supplements, the Common European Framework of reference for languages and the Europass into one single framework."

To tackle this ambitious task, the working group developed a model for this single framework and a prototype website.

In 2003, following extensive consultation with national authorities and social partners, the European Commission prepared a proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass), which was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in December 2004. This decision provides, among others, for the website to be set up.

Click here to read the text of the Europass Decision.

February 2005: official launch of the he Europass website at a conference in Luxembourg, which was then holding the presidency of the EU.

December 2011: the Europass website undergoes a radical redesign with a new, modern graphic identity. Improved navigation provides quicker access to the most popular information.

December 2012:

- a new CV template and online editor is launched. Improvements include:

  • more user-friendly online interface with direct preview of the final document;
  • new headings: Personal website, Instant messaging, Language certificate(s);
  • improved tutorials for better structured information: description of projects, conferences, publications, etc.;
  • new graphical identity for better legibility of Europass CV generated: new font, use of colours, simplified headings, etc.

- the European Skills Passport is launched together with the new CV. The ESP is a user-friendly electronic folder to help students, workers or job-seekers build up personal, modular inventory of personal skills and qualifications acquired throughout life.

The ESP can contain a range of documents (Language Passport, copies of degrees, attestations of employment, etc.). When attached to a Europass CV, the European Skills Passport will reinforce the CV by bringing evidence of skills and qualifications listed.