Rather than analysing European academic cooperation and mobility for their own sake, the following pages try to set interuniversity developments in their historical context, as higher education is but one area where political and economic change press for transformation – often in ways similar to the evolution existing in other fields of social service, be they private or public.
As a powerhouse of knowledge, the university should be able to make sense of social change and scientific development. Has it managed to do so over the last fifty years, thus contributing to the cultural and economic integration of Europe? Considering the complexity of the influences that shaped university life since World War II, this paper tracks facts and trends from a personal point of view, that of an historian and 26 year administrator of the NGO set up to develop the European dimension of higher education. This NGO was known as the CRE from 1959 to 2001, and is now the European University Association.