The European Parliament voted in favour of adopting the Recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF). The EQF will link countries' qualifications systems, improve their transparency and so act as a translation device in order to help Member States, employers and individuals compare and better understand qualifications held by individual citizens from elsewhere in the EU. At the core of the EQF are its eight reference levels, from basic to advanced. These describe what a learner knows, understands and is able to do, regardless of the system in which the learner's qualification was acquired.
The EQF therefore shifts the focus away from learning inputs (such as the length of a learning experience, or the type of institution), to learning outcomes. Shifting the focus towards learning outcomes brings significant advantages: (1) it supports a better match between education and training provisions and the needs of the labour market (for knowledge, skills and competences); (2) it facilitates the validation of non-formal and informal learning; and (3) it facilitates the transfer and use of qualifications across different countries and education and training systems.