Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency

Service tools

Navigation path

  •  Print

Tempus @ 20

Believe it or not, Tempus is 20 years old this year.

Tempus was established in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall, to help the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to become modern and prosperous democracies. In the mid-1990s after the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the Tempus Programme was extended to the New Independent States and the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

In 2000, the Programme celebrated its tenth anniversary, and a series of activities were organised and publications funded ('Tempus@10').

Since then, the programme has been extended further to the 10 Partner Countries in the MEDA region. In addition, 10 of the former Tempus Partner countries, partly due to the success of their reform efforts, have now acceded to become members of the EU themselves.

The following time-line gives a brief overview of the Tempus programme throughout its 20 years...


1 July - The trans-European mobility scheme for university studies (hereinafter referred to as Tempus) was adopted by the Council, ‘within a perspective of five years, for an initial pilot phase of three years.’ This first phase of the Tempus programme was launched to respond to the modernisation needs of the higher education sector in Central and Eastern European countries, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Countries: Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia (from 1993 as Czech and Slovak Republics).


Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia entered Tempus for 1991 only.


Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Albania were added to the Partner Countries Tempus worked with.


29 April - The second phase of the Trans-European Cooperation Scheme for Higher Education, Tempus II, was adopted by the European Council for a period of 4 years as of 1 July 1994. Partner Countries included during 1993 were Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus.


1 July - Tempus II started. Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan became Partner Countries.


Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Mongolia entered Tempus.


Tempus II was extended in 1996 so that activities could continue until 2000. Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan were included in the programme.


29 April - The Council adopted the third phase of the Trans-European cooperation scheme for higher education (Tempus III) for the period from 2000-2006.


1 July - Tempus III was initiated.

5 December - The Cards Regulation of 5 December 2000 amends the Tempus III Decision to include the participation of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and sets out the framework for Community assistance to the Western Balkans


27 June - On the basis of its proven strengths, the geographic scope of the Tempus Programme was formally enlarged by the Council to include the Mediterranean region. In addition, the duration of the Programme was extended until 31 December 2006 to bring it into line with other Community programmes in the field of education and training. 2006 31 December - Tempus III comes to and end.


January: launching of Tempus IV (2007-2013) Tempus IV was initiated to cover the 2007 – 2013 period and results from a positive impact study which recognised that Tempus was an important instrument for supporting higher education reforms in the Partner Countries.

Israel joins the programme as a new partner country.


April: Management of the programme is transferred from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education and Culture to the Executive Agency for Education, Culture and Audiovisual (EACEA) in Brussels.


Croatia leaves the programme, but only for a brief period, to join again when it becomes an official Member State of the European Union.

Libya joins the programme as a new partner country.

Late Autumn/Early Winter: A conference will be organised to celebrate the 20th anniversary. A Tempus@ 20 Study will also be published with case studies and examples of best practice on the programme over the past 20 years.

Last update: 12/12/2013  Print | Top of page