During the phase of entering into the EU in the early nineties there was an imperative for the Austrian civil service for education and training on EU matters. At this time the target group was quite large and could not be restricted to a small number of people who were directly involved in the Austrian accession process to the EU and the relevant educational establishment was not yet prepared to offer an enhanced choice of training on EU-policy-making and Community law. Hence the Federal Chancellery entered into co-operation with external educational institutions especially with the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA).
Since this time there has been at least one Austrian national expert continuously seconded to EIPA. During the ten years of Austria’s EU membership we have developed a competent internal pool of lecturers on EU affairs.
With the Diplomatic Academy Vienna we started our training initiative for the Austrian EU-Presidency as early as May 2004 when we again revived a fruitful partnership with EIPA. Together with our seconded national expert we developed two curricula for two particular target groups. One was designed for the future chairpersons for the Council working-groups including the national delegates to-be and a second curriculum was devised for the special back office needs. In implementing this content of teaching through different seminars our national expert worked together with a number of EIPA lecturers. The emphasis of the training programme was on institutional and procedural matters of the EU, negotiations training as well as language training both in English and French.
The co-operation with EIPA mainly took place in the fields of EU-institutional and procedural matters as well as negotiation training. Our national expert who served several years as a “Mertens” with the Austrian Permanent Representation in Brussels combined her practical know-how of the EU decision-making process with the more theoretical background knowledge of the EIPA lecturers. Together they could present a well rounded picture of the complex scheme of EU legislative decision making. An additional added value in many of these joint seminars was that the working language in the seminars was English. This seemed most appropriate as in a large number of seminars also speakers from EU institutions (European Commission, Council Secretariat, and European Parliament) participated and presented their particular field of activity from a most interesting inside view.
Since we started our training on EU matters in the early nineties we established a co-operation with the Institut Francais de Vienne. The main reason for this co-operation was that the Institut Francais de Vienne designed a curriculum in French language training tailored accurately for the special needs of administrators. Further they offered special trainings e.g. like simulated conferences in co-operation with EU institutions in Brussels and international organisations as the United Nations. We also run a similar training in English for our civil servants; currently we are planning to enter into a co-operation to develop an internet based English-e-learning tool with a strong focus on ‘EU-English’.
In conclusion there has been a remarkable knowledge transfer between the Federal Chancellery, EIPA and the Institut Francais de Vienne. An additional benefit of this co-operation can be found in the cross cultural aspect of this setting. There is also evidence that this international co-operation on training issues builds a favourable impact on the mission statement for the Austrian civil servant working in the field of EU policy making.
The Cyprus Academy of Public Administration strongly believes in the need to build partnerships, in order to increase its capacity and gain from the knowledge and experience of other actors, in its efforts and promote learning and contribute towards the continuous improvement of the Cyprus civil service.
Existing partnerships include bilateral agreements with the National Centre for Public Administration (NCPA) Greece and the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) with the contribution of which the Academy organizes/organized a number of learning activities for which it did not have the required expertise. At the same time, the Academy offers/offered the services of its trainers to the NCPA for training activities addressed to Greek civil servants.
An ad-hoc agreement was also signed with Professors from the University of Cyprus in the framework of a Research Programme carried out by the Academy in cooperation with the NCPA, for the adaptability of the Cyprus civil service to the organizational requirements of the EU.
The Academy finds that the partnerships built so far have been very beneficial because it has gained new knowledge and experiences, has exchanged experiences, has increased its capacity and has expanded its portfolio of learning and research activities.