Background and Objectives
The development of effective and efficient state administrations is one of the major challenges that the countries of the Western Balkans 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.
At the same time, due to the progressive integration process, the member states of the European Union themselves are faced with the challenge of developing new forms of cross-border collaboration. Administrative procedures are increasingly being determined by European regulations, as the EU’s expanding field of competence now also touches upon what were traditionally national political issues. Domestic politics and security issues (such as for example migration) now require multilateral agreement and a universal approach. Possible future member states are only marginally involved in these processes to date, but they will be directly affected once they become members. Some of the newest members still struggle to meet the requirements of the EU membership.
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 launched in 2008 a Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans as one of its flagship operational programmes.
Programme content and description
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 to 20 highly qualified young professionals from the highest ranking state authorities of the countries of the Western Balkans. The duration of the Fellowship is a total of 3 months, which entails stay and work in the host EU country (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic,France (from 2012), Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) and state institution and 3 seminars which bring the group of Fellows together, at the beginning, middle and end of the Fellowship period.
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, the Fellows get the opportunity to familiarise 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. The Programme is complemented by an Introductory Seminar, an Intermediary visiting programme to EU and other institutions in Brussels and a Final Seminar. Before the first Introductory Seminar each Fellow is also supported financially to attend a 2 months course in the language of the host country.
The following table shows each phase of the Programme in detail:
Language Course*Introductory Seminar*Traineeship Phase I*Intermediary Seminar*Traineeship Phase II*Final Seminar
Fellow learns language of host country*Held in Berlin/Potsdam the Introductory Seminar gathers the fellows for a first meeting and provides insight into the current social and political – global, European and Balkan challenges and opportunities*Fellow begins his/her traineeship at host EU member state institution: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia.*Held in Brussels the Intermediary Seminar gives the opportunity to visit andmeet high ranking officials from EU Institutions, NATO.*Fellow continues his/her traineeship at host EU member state institution.*Held each year at adifferent location in the Western Balkans, the Final Seminar invites Fellows for the last set of trainings in leadership, conflict resolution, communication and negotiations, evaluation and networking
Timeframe: 2 MONTHS*Timeframe: 12 DAYS*Timeframe: 1 MONTH*Timeframe: 4 DAYS*Timeframe: 1 MONTH, 2 WEEKS*Timeframe: 6 DAYS