09 May 2019
Posteado en : Opinion
On the occasion of Europe Day, the head of the FIIAPP office in Brussels, Silvia Prada gave a presentation on the work carried out by the Foundation in its role in European cooperation and on what FIIAPP is doing in the European capital
The Foundation has had representation in Brussels for almost a decade. Recently, it opened its new headquarters in the Embassy of Spain in the Kingdom of Belgium.
The FIIAPP delegations represent the Foundation in its field of operation, framed within both the external action of Spain and the European Union. FIIAPP is a major player in European cooperation due to its expertise and experience: knowledge generated by its technical cooperation activities and the accompanying public policy reform processes nurture the external action of the European Union.
One of the main objectives of the office in Brussels is to contribute to improving the effectiveness and quality of the work of the Foundation, participating and contributing to the promotion of a structured dialogue with the agents for European cooperation. And in short, also to contribute to the strategic positioning of FIIAPP as an contributor to Spanish and European cooperation and an implementer of the 2030 Agenda.
This positioning is becoming more important, if that is possible, in the current European context. In response to the 2030 Agenda and the new European Consensus on Development, the new development policy of the EU is being drawn up in Brussels; the negotiation of the new budget for the period 2021-2027 is being finalised; and recently the communication from the European Commission to the Parliament and the Council, “The EU, joining forces for a common future” was published, which will mark relations with the region during the next decade. Above all, a context marked by the new political-institutional framework that will come about after the European elections of 26M.
What does the work in Brussels consist of?
The FIIAPP office in Brussels is the visible face of the Foundation, its eyes, ears and voice vis-à-vis the agents of European cooperation.
One of the keys to the work is the ability to anticipate. To identify the key information and understand how the main decisions related to the EU’s cooperation policy can affect FIIAPP; and how it can be influenced from an operational level. At the same time, to transfer to those involved in European cooperation the added value of the Foundation as an entity of the Spanish cooperation system, specialised in the promotion and management of the participation of public administrations in technical cooperation programmes; in particular, in accompanying public policy reform processes and in generating dialogues between public administrations of partner countries.
All this with a view to looking for and creating alliances, working in a network. That is, by participating in the activities of the Practitioners’ Network, a platform of European development agencies to exchange knowledge and practical solutions that contribute to improving joint work; FIIAPP has been a member of the Network since 2014 and DG DEVCO of the European Commission is present as an observer.
Also, participating in networking spaces, such as those provided by European Development Days and/or the various events organised in Brussels on topics or regions of interest to the Foundation.
The work on dialogue in Brussels is crucial and is structured around multiple aspects: such as Spanish cooperation, coordination with the representations of the Spanish public administrations in Brussels, mainly with the Permanent Representation of Spain before the EU; and in particular, regarding complementarity and harmony with AECID; in addition to the bilateral Embassy. In addition, with the EU institutions (essentially the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament); the development agencies of the Member States with which FIIAPP is most involved and which are represented in Brussels (Expertise France and GIZ); without forgetting the important international organisations that are present in the capital of Europe.
What relationship is there with the European institutions?
The bulk of the coordination with the European institutions and especially with the Commission, which is carried out from the FIIAPP representation in Brussels, consists of being in permanent contact with the main partners of the Foundation: the services of the General Directorate of International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and the General Directorate of Neighbourhood and Enlargement (DG NEAR). And also with some of the sectoral General Directorates, those most important to the programmes and projects in which FIIAPP works.
The dialogue with the European institutions is articulated with a cross-cutting approach to the priority themes and regions; and with a view both to the present and future. The tasks range from the general monitoring of EU activities (financial framework, new external action instruments, delegated cooperation), to the identification of new opportunities for collaboration, to contributing to increasing coherence in negotiations regarding new projects; and the promotion of the construction of greater synergies of the Foundation’s activities, providing support to sectoral areas and FIIAPP programmes, mainly in support of ongoing programmes that DEVCO manages centrally from Brussels.
As part of this work on dialogue with the European institutions, coordination with the European Parliament and the European External Action Service, mainly through Renowned National Experts should also be highlighted.
09 May 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
In the framework of Europe Day, we get deeper in the history of Twinning projects. 20 years of peer-to-peer cooperation in the European Union, with FIIAPP as one of the largest operators
International cooperation starts from home. While reaching the most distant corners of the world shows the ability to promote standards and contribute to institution building in the most fragile countries, looking closer to home may be more complicated and necessary than we think.
We talk about sustainable development goals and an international framework that aims to change the global picture in relation to poverty, climate change and inequality, whose results should become visible in the next decade. Without wishing to downplay the issue, we must bear in mind, in this quest for global change, that cooperation between Europe and its neighbouring countries (from the Maghreb to the Caucasus) is still as important as it was 20 years ago, when the European Commission established its twinning programme.
An instrument for institutional dialogue
With the aim of disseminating the institutional model of its Member States and creating a framework for dialogue between peers, the European Commission designed a new instrument based on demand back in 1998: Twinning. The Twinning projects have proved to be a useful tool in the last 20 years by helping candidate countries align their legislation with the EU’s institutional framework, share good practices and strengthen the rule of law.
Twinning is also a tool which has grown and developed in its short history. Born as an instrument intended uniquely to candidate countries, it now includes neighbouring European countries and has become a complex form of technical cooperation through the more than 2,700 initiatives since its inception.
The most important feature of the Twinning projects is their results-based approach, as it was one of the first EU instruments for cooperation to focus on specific and mandatory results. While this impact-based vision is now firmly ensconced, it has not always been a reality in the daily work of the majority of donors.
In addition, the Twinning programme has also been the Commission’s first foray into projects based on demand. A vision that has now spread to other regions, but which continues to have its roots in these pioneering initiatives.
The recognition the programme has received from other European institutions is an additional argument for being aware of the impact these projects have had over the last 20 years. For example, the EU Court of Auditors emphasises that twinning has the capacity to act as a -catalyst for launching reforms in the candidate countries by bringing together experts from Member States and candidate country administrations and promoting the adoption of EU legislation-.
FIIAPP, one of the largest European operators
As the only Spanish institution responsible for managing these EU projects, FIIAPP has implemented over 350 Twinning projects and is one of the most important European Twinning operators.
There have been many FIIAPP success stories among these projects, but it is worth discussing those highlighted in the EU’s own annual activity report. In this sense, we can take the example of the 2016 report, which discusses Tunisia and the way the projects undertaken in the region have contributed to the country’s democratic transition.
Specifically, the project supporting the Ministry of Justice has helped to modernise the selection and training of judicial personnel in the country. These have been concrete advances, key to aligning the justice sector with international standards.
The case of Tunisia and its institutional needs in the post-Arab spring context is just one example of how FIIAPP supports the modernisation and democratisation of public administration through this type of project. Other examples cover topics as diverse as migration, social policies, rights, economic development, communications, security and the green economy.
FIIAPP, together with other European operators, is contributing to the development of this instrument and its participation and involvement in different working groups on the future of Twinning is a proof of the EU’s commitment to this funding tool.
Future prospects for the twinning instrument
In recognition of the success of this instrument, the Commission is considering extending it to other regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean. Given its evolution from an instrument dedicated solely to candidate countries to one used in the relation with other European neighbours, this extension seems possible.
However, a convincing argument on the advantages of this framework remains to be made, in comparison for example initiatives funded by the Development Cooperation Instrument.
While in the case of Latin America a similar regulatory framework can facilitate this type of undertaking, in other regions the work that remains is even greater if Twinning is to be transformed into a global instrument, applicable to EU cooperation policy in various parts of the world. FIIAPP’s contribution may be relevant and timely in this regard given its experience with this funding instrument.
Daniela Serban, FIIAPP Strategy Officer