|State of play of academic freedom in the EU member states: Overview of de facto trends and developments
Ever since the early history of European universities, academic freedom has been acknowledged to be a fundamental feature of any higher education research system or institution. The emergence of the research university model in Germany in the early 1800s, highlighting the basic concepts of Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit, contributed strongly to the central position of academic freedom in present-day higher education systems. Following the widespread democratisation of Europe and other parts of the world during the second half of the 20th century, academic freedom became no longer simply an abstract concept; in many countries, it was codified as a specific freedom. More recently, academic freedom has been recognised as a basic condition for a healthy democracy and an essential feature of any democratic political order. Currently, major breaches of and threats to academic freedom can be observed across Europe and the world. Presenting independent research into the de facto state of play of academic freedom in the EU Member States, this study has been designed to contribute to a better understanding of potential and real threats to academic freedom in the EU Member States, and ways in which the protection of academic freedom can be strengthened.