This article analyses the implications for the integration of higher education in Europe as presented by the Bologna process. It examines the evidence presented in official documents which claim a wide-spread consensus for this initiative. The article analyses the particular ideological commitment built into the Bologna process in the light of its four objectives Mobility, Employ ability, Competitiveness and Attractiveness. It questions whether that consensus, largely taken for granted at the higher levels of political discussion, is fully reflected in 'le pays reel' - at the chalk face. It argues that the main test of the Bologna 'principles' will come when talk gives way to implementation, both at the level of first degrees and in the area of research training.