24 February 2022
Category : Opinion
The Country Round Tables are an instrument for dialogue between a government and the EU to define the lines of action of European cooperation projects horizontally and according to demand
Education, health, justice, security, employment. How many sectors can fit into a country’s public system? How can these public systems be strengthened? Where should efforts be directed? What should be prioritised? How can we ensure that our cooperation is as effective and consistent as possible?
The FIIAPP’s mission is to strengthen public systems through international cooperation between public institutions, but what use are all these efforts if there is no consensus to give them meaning? Answering these questions is essential to FIIAPP.
For governments, public institutions, the European Union, European cooperation programmes and the implementing agencies of the programmes to answer these questions, the FIIAPP is organising the Country Round Tables ( #MesasPaís ).
Country Round Tables, a materialisation of the #PolicyFirst principle
What is the point of making huge investments if they are not based on a cohesive roadmap ? In other words, what is the point of spending €10 million building schools if the Ministry of Education does not have public policies that ensure a quality educational system and the Ministry of Inclusion does not guarantee a tolerant and respectful environment in schools? When it comes to cooperation, what use is all the effort if there is no interministerial strategy that gives it meaning?
“what use is cooperation without interministerial consensus in countries? “
The Policy First principle is an emerging concept in foreign action and European development cooperation based on prioritising dialogue on public policies. “It establishes mechanisms that facilitate policy dialogue with partner countries to steer programming and implementation of Team Europe‘s cooperation actions […] building shared political responses to global challenges ” explains Tobias Jung, director of Strategy and Communication at the FIIAPP.
In line with this strategy, the FIIAPP has promoted the Country Round Tables.
Continuous dialogue within governments
The Country Round Tables are promoted by the FIIAPP and framed in European cooperation programmes such as EUROsociAL+ and EUROCLIMA+. They are meetings of representatives of the main public bodies of a country and EU institutions, their cooperation programmes, public financial entities and the EU member states.
They are convened by the European Union and assisted by the FIIAPP, and are designed to identify country needs and draw up a roadmap to face the main challenges existing in the territory. It is a horizontal dialogue from which the strategic lines of the public technical cooperation projects (modality of cooperation between public institutions) emerge, which are then used by the partner country institutions to design and implement public policies.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recognised FIIAPP’s effort to create the Country Round Tables:
“The Country Round Tables have proven effective for developing joint responses to crises such as COVID-19, and in advancing the Team Europe approach”, they explain in the report where they recognise the work of the Round Tables.
European cooperation programmes such as EUROCLIMA+ and EUROsociAL+ have used the Country Round Table methodology in several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Honduras and Paraguay:
– Country Dialogues, an undertaking by EUROCLIMA+ and its partners – EUROsociAL+ held a Country Dialogue round table in Argentina to address equality gaps in Latin America
The COVID-19 Round Table initiative
COVID-19 has shown us that pandemics and their associated crises require a rapid, coordinated and, above all, global response to protect people and counteract the social and economic consequences felt all over the world.
In May 2020, following the “Working Better Together” approach, the European Commission launched a pilot exercise called COVID-19 Round Tables led by the Delegations of the European Union in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador in collaboration with the governments of each of these three countries. This initiative worked for several months to identify the demands derived from the health emergency, in order to prioritise them in a joint exercise with the government of the partner country to channel the response of the European actors in a structured and coordinated manner according to the capacities and speciality of each actor.
Giving all institutions a voice
At this point, I will go back to the question I started with and the answer is obvious : what use is cooperation without interministerial consensus in countries? Not much, which is why at FIIAPP we will continue to use tools for dialogue and listening that give all institutions a voice.
Cristina Blasco, technician from the department of
Communication and Strategy at the FIIAPP
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