I thought it was a bit rich at the time – when on 19 July 1999 The University of Bologna hosted the conference of European ministers of higher education which eventually led to the Bologna Declaration and the Bologna Process; a process aimed at creating the European Higher Education Area based on cooperation between ministries, higher education institutions, students and staff.
On 12 October 1993, Law Professor and Vice-Chancellor of Bologna University , Fabio Roversi-Monaco sacked seventy-four of his foreign lecturers in response to a European Court of Justice ruling which stated that employing foreign teaching staff on short-term contracts – while Italians enjoyed open-ended employment – was in breach of EU single market rules outlawing discrimination based on nationality.
Roversi-Monaco then offered the sacked foreigners open-ended contracts as technicians. Neat.
As they say in these parts “the law is something you interpret for yours friends and apply to your enemies”.
65 were re-instated by an injunction – fired again – and re-instated.
All of this was getting Bologna and Italy a rather bad press – see for example: 10 July 1998, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Bolognese flavoured corruption,
A Ministerial conference, a lofty Bologna Declaration and a Bologna process – just the ticket to keep people’s minds off the biggest mass sacking of foreign EU workers (with ECJ judgments in their favour!) in the history of the European Union.
Twenty-eight of those sacked (who refused to sign Roversi-Monaco’s offer they couldn’t refuse) are still fighting in Italian courts today.
They will meet in Bologna on 13 March 2010, to coincide with the conference being held in Austria and Budapest 11-13 March where European ministers gather to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Bologna process.
European Voice published 4 February 2010: Education reforms are far from successful. The Bologna process is failing lecturers in Italy.