The ranking of universities through the publication of league tables has become a major feature of the landscape of higher education, and a cause of much controversy. League tables generate prestige, by adding a quantitative aspect to judgments that would in some cases previously have been made informally anyway, thus making the implicit explicit. Many other countries with developed or strongly developing higher education systems, such as mainland European countries and China, make relatively little showing. Such tables draw attention to national differences and prompt exploration of the possible reasons for them, which may be socio-culturally based or may relate to national policy, particularly on funding and governance. U-Multirank was first proposed during the French presidency of the EU in 2008, as a means of acknowledging the wide range of higher education institutions, the variety in stakeholders' needs and thus the many ways in which institutions can be excellent.