The first mention of a European framework of qualifications for higher education appeared in the Berlin Communiqué  in September 2003. "Ministers encourage the Member States to elaborate a framework of comparable and compatible qualifications for their higher education systems, which should seek to describe qualifications in terms of workload, level, learning outcomes, competences and profile. They also undertake an overarching framework of qualifications for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA)".
This objective has since been confirmed:

  • By the Joint interim report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the detailed work programme on the follow up of the objectives of education and training systems in Europe: "Education & Training 2010, the success of the Lisbon Strategy hinges on urgent reforms"  on 3 March 2004. This report called for a European framework "to stand as a common reference for the recognition of qualifications... A framework of this kind should naturally be based on national frameworks which themselves must be coherent and cover higher education and vocational education and training".
  • And by the "Maastricht Communiqué on the future priorities of enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training" on 14 December 2004. The Ministers of Education called for the development of an "open and flexible European qualification framework". It will provide a common reference "to facilitate the recognition and transferability of qualifications covering VET and general (secondary and higher) education, based mainly on competences and learning outcomes".