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History of the Tempus programme – main milestones

From 1990 till 2006 Tempus has funded 6500 projects, involving 2000 universities from the EU and its Partner Countries. Between 2000 and 2006, 788 Joint European Projects and 1492 individual mobility grants were funded. In addition, during the same period, Tempus supported 270 Structural and Complementary Measures across all regions.

Tempus IV (2007-2013) continues the activities already launched during the previous phases of the programme which started in 1990.

Time line


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 to 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.


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.

The new programme continues to be an important element of the EU external policy and the geographical scope is maintained. It continues to support in priority bottom-up multi-lateral cooperation initiatives.

The main novelties of Tempus IV are that the programme seeks projects which will have a greater impact of higher education reforms in the Partner Countries. This involves:

  • Priorities structured around the main components of the EU's higher education modernisation agenda (curricular reform, governance reform, higher education and society).
  • Increase of minimum partnership requirements.
  • Both project types (Joint Projects) and Structural Measures) are refocused to address Partner Country needs and to demonstrate a clear impact in higher education at institutional or system level.
  • The range of eligible organisations is enlarged to include more stakeholders in higher education.
  • Higher education institutions from the Partner Countries can act as applicants and grant holders for both Joint Projects and Structural Measures.
  • The requirements with regard to dissemination activities and sustainability have been reinforced.
  • Increase of individual grant size to € 500,000 - 1,500,00.
  • Israel is a new Partner Country.

Israel entered Tempus.


Libya entered Tempus.


Capacity-building activities under the Tempus programme are encorporated into the new Erasmus+ programme that begins on 1 January.

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