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This article provides an overview of education cooperation in Europe seen though some of the major initiatives of international organizations (IOs) active in this field. The purpose of the article is two-fold:

  • (i)
    mapping out IOs' most significant programmes according to their objectives and modes of cooperation as a pre-requisite to understand the mechanisms, achievements and shortcomings of education cooperation in Europe, and
  • (ii)
    enquiring about the effectiveness of these programs in terms of effective influence on national education policies and systems.

Six modes of cooperation are identified and reviewed in the article, namely (i) promoting universal, normative values among the education community, (ii) setting and monitoring common (or shared) goals for education systems, (iii) developing comparable quality standards and performance indicators, (iv) enhancing a policy dialogue and disseminating good practices at country and regional levels, (v) providing financial aid for system governance through institutional development and (vi) promoting the European dimension of education through student/staff mobility and institutional networking.