At the heart of the recommendations of the International Commission on the Balkans lies a Member-state building strategy which embodies as its priorities the development of functioning state administrations and constituency-building for the countries of Southeast Europe. The development of effective and efficient state administrations is one of the major challenges that the countries of Southeast Europe face in their democratisation process. The Reforms in all of the countries are mainly driven by the EU integration process, irrespective of the prospective date of accession. 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. 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. How can the employees of national ministries be prepared to meet these requirements? An excellent academic education and qualifications in the national administration system is the basis of this preparation. Furthermore, each public official responsible for the European domain should acquire practical experience of a different European member state over an extended period of time. In response to these needs and complementary to existing programmes supporting institutional reform, the EFB launches a Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans as one of its flagship operational programmes.


The Programme aims to contribute to the development of effective and efficient state administrations in the region by offering a tailor-made fellowship and training programme for highly qualified young professionals from the highest ranking state authorities of the countries of the Western Balkans. By participating in the Programme, the fellows have the opportunity to: • gain professional experience in EU countries’ federal or state government agencies, • 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 an alumni network. During their stay in the host country, Fellows would familiarise themselves with the administrative structures and forms of political decision-making in the host country and in the EU. The programme is complemented by an introductory seminar, a visiting programme to one of the institutions of the EU and a final seminar. These seminars provide regional and European political knowledge as well as leadership and managerial skills. Meetings of alumni serve to continue and reinforce the network beyond the completion of the programme.


The Programme is unique in terms of its duration, content and the number of participating countries from the Western Balkans and European Union. Up to 20 scholarships are made available for civil servants from the Western Balkans to spend a 3 month fellowship in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic or Poland. 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. Excellent knowledge of the language of the host country is desirable. However, the fellows will receive an allowance for intensive language training in their countries prior to the deployment in the host institution. The Fellowship Programme is organised building upon the long standing experience offering similar programmes of the Robert Bosch Stiftung (The Bellevue Programme; Fellowship Programme for Public Servants from CEE).


Introductory Seminar

The official program begins in beginning of April with a 10-day introductory seminar. It provides insight into the current social and political challenges in the EU and in the different host countries through presentations and meetings with senior decision makers. Part of the seminar will be tailored to the field of expertise represented in the group in accordance with the annual topic. Fellows will have the chance to discuss their plans for their fellowship, receive individual advice and present their professional and personal goals. Leadership and team-working skills are applied at a high level in the soft skills seminars: trainers in international negotiations, rhetoric and strategic decision-making enable participants to develop further and acquire additional skills through intensive practical exercises.

Deployment in a partner institution

The Fellows will work from Mid April to Mid June with their peers from the host institution. The work in the host institution will be tailored to the individual interests and needs of the fellow.

Intermediary Seminar

The three days-long intermediary visiting program to Brussels offers the Fellows the opportunity to talk with high-ranking representatives of European institutions and learn about the current developments in Europe, familiarise themselves with the political culture of the Union and link their work in their home country and host country. This second seminar takes place half way through the fellowship and offers an opportunity to monitor the goals set at the outset, plan steps for development over the coming months and exchange experiences of the host country with fellow participants.

Final Seminar

At the end of the programme year, the EFB invites participants to a final five-day review meeting presenting the results of their work and evaluating the fellowship.


During the Programme duration, fellows receive a monthly allowance from the European Fund for the Balkans in addition to the relocation fee. The costs for language training are also reimbursed up to a fixed sum. Travel, accommodation and any other essential maintenance costs relating to seminars and other compulsory events are also covered. The EFB supports the fellows with organizational issues.


Civil Servants of ministries in the Western Balkan countries can apply. The programme is targeted at public officials from the central government 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.


Intensive language training: January – End of March 2009
Introduction seminar: April 2009, 10 days
Working phase I: April – Mid May 2009
Intermediary seminar: Mid May 2009, 3 days
Working phase II: May – June 2009
Final Seminar: End of June 2009, 5 days