TEMPUS is the European Union’s programme which supports the modernisation of higher education in the EU's surrounding area. Tempus promotes institutional cooperation that involves the European Union and Partner Countries and focuses on the reform and modernisation of higher education systems in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region.It also aims to promote voluntary convergence of the higher education systems in the Partner Countries with EU developments in the field of higher education. With regards to the Western Balkans, Tempus contributes to preparing the candidate and potential candidate countries for a participation in the integrated Life Long Learning Programme.
In addition to promoting cooperation between institutions, Tempus also promotes a people-to-people approach.Tempus provides support to consortia of institutions composed mainly of universities or university associations. Non-academic partners can also be part of a consortium.
The Tempus programme is implemented in close coordination with the Erasmus Mundus programme which provides scholarships to third country students allowing them to participate in top-level Master courses and Doctorate programmes outside the EU.
The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for the management / implementation of all Tempus Actions and acts under powers delegated by the European Commission.The formal responsibility for supervising the activities of the Tempus Programme lies with two departments of the European Commission, the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Office (DEVCO) and the Directorate-General for Enlargement (ELARG), since both allocate funds directly to the Executive Agency to manage the Programme. In line with their mandate, the European External Action Service (EEAS) contributes to the strategic orientations of the Programme and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture (EAC) brings in its sectoral expertise and facilitates linkages with the EU's internal higher education reform policies. These two Commission Departments are therefore also associated with the implementation of the Tempus Programme.