Vatican City, 14 June 2012 (VIS) - On Friday 8 June at the Government Palace in Vilnius the Holy See and the Republic of Lithuania signed an Agreement on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education.
Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, apostolic nuncio to Lithuania, signed on behalf or the Holy See, while Audronius Azubalis, minister for foreign affairs, signed for Lithuania.
The Agreement is in line with the 1997 Lisbon Convention, the various goals of which include that of favouring reciprocal recognition of periods of study and of qualifications in the field of higher education. Such recognition serves, among other things, to facilitate the movement of students and free circulation in the ambit of higher education within the region of Europe. Moreover, the Agreement is also in line with the aims of the Bologna Process, which has created the European Higher Education Area, currently involving forty-seven European countries, including the Holy See, with the support of a number of international organisations.
The current Agreement, apart from defining the principal terms it uses and its field of application, establishes rules, procedures and instruments to guarantee the recognition of higher education. It completes the juridical framework of relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Lithuania, which are already regulated by three Agreements signed on 5 May 2000. They concern cooperation in the field of education and culture, juridical aspects of relations between the Catholic Church and the State, and pastoral assistance to Catholics in the armed forces.
The current Agreement will enter into force on the day the two parties announce they have completed the respective internal legal procedures.