Programme Background

The Fellowship Programme for Government Officials is EFB’s flagship intervention launched in 2008. It is a one-year practice-oriented educational programme for government officials. The purpose of the programme is to give impetus to the EU integration-driven reforms of the Western Balkans’ administrations, through building the capacities of individuals, who are acting as the agents of change. The programme targets ambitious young government officials with a strong commitment to contributing to the development of their societies who are lifelong learners, acquiring skills and broadening their horizons throughout their careers.

The Western Balkans countries’ needs, as well as the experiences before and after the accession of the ten Member States in 2004, have shown that the administrative capacity plays a key part in the capability to assume both the obligation of the EU accession process and the obligations of the membership later on.

Both the EU integration process and the performance of the Balkan countries within the EU will depend on qualified and experienced human resources to guide and shape the process.

Cross-border working relations are not developed through institutions, but by the people who work in them. Personal networks and an understanding of different working cultures are essential to overcoming barriers of national administration and past conflict. The program’s regional approach ensures the mixture of the officials from Western Balkans countries, and yields the additional benefit of regional confidence building, stemming from social bonding and professional networking of the fellows.

Programme specific objectives

  • To develop the capacities of a selected category of public officials who want to shape regional and European collaboration, by targeting national actors important for European integration;
  • To enable a good environment for supporting motivated government officials in acquiring knowledge and skills regarding European principles of administration, and transferring know-how within their departments of work.

Methodology

The Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials methodology combines two intensive seminars (at the beginning and at the end of the program), with three-month placements in institutions of European countries’ administrations. Prior to the beginning of the programme, each Fellow is also supported financially to attend a 2-month intensive course to learn the language of the respective host country.

During their stay in the host country, the Fellows get the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the administrative structures and forms of political decision-making in the host country and in the EU. The choice of the host institution is made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the preferences outlined in the application form, the profile of the Fellow, the professional interests, the language skills, and the strategic interest of the employer.

Benefits

  • Gain professional experience in EU countries’ federal or state government agencies during the 3-month fellowship phase,
  • Receive training on EU (and other international) issues,
  • Receive training on their respective field of expertise,
  • Acquire leadership and management skills at seminars,
  • Engage with their colleagues from the region and the EU, and thus
  • Create links between administrations through individual networks,
  • Serve as ambassadors of their respective countries
  • Learn a foreign language and
  • Participate in the EFB Community network.

Who are we looking for?

The Programme is specifically designed for government officials from the eligible central government institutions in the Western Balkans, who have several years of professional experience in public administration and have already assumed initial managerial responsibilities or are preparing for a position of leadership. Basic knowledge of the workings of the European Union is required and personal enthusiasm for the European idea is essential. Applications from the candidates in political positions are NOT accepted.