This chapter aims at contributing to understand the development
of European higher education quality assurance politics and
policies. Drawing on discursive institutionalism, it analyses
policy documents (reports, recommendations and guidelines)
on quality assurance issued by institutions at the European
level underlining the role of ideas in the construction of
quality as a political driver. The argument is that the principles
construing the politics of quality assurance at the European
level are being diluted in the enactment of quality assurance
policies, practices and their instruments. This is a case of goal displacement with regard to the major political objective
of a more integrated higher education in Europe. Discursive
institutionalism allowed identifying the role of normative and
cognitive ideas in the shift from the centrality of ultimate
political values to instrumental ideas reflecting proceduralism.
This shift illustrates the process of goal displacement of
quality assurance policies coordinated at the European level.