About EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans
Public administration reform (PAR) remains among the focal areas of EU’s assistance for the Western Balkans countries, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo , the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (hereafter WB6). WB6 countries face common challenges in the field of PAR despite recent progress made in the context of the EU enlargement process. According to the European Commission country Progress Reports and the EU/OECD SIGMA assessment reports, Public Administration Reform challenges in the Western Balkans include but are not limited to: enhancement of policy and legislative development and coordination capacities and processes including European Integration planning and implementation, streamlining public administration organisation and accountability lines, professionalisation and de-politicisation of the civil service, human resource development and management, improving the quality, accessibility and delivery of public services to citizens and businesses and the public finance management system.
Regional cooperation remains a catalyst for the enlargement process and a key enabling factor for comprehensive reforms and the return to sustainable economic growth in the Western Balkans. The common PAR problems faced by the WB6 countries could also be more efficiently addressed through peer review and sharing of good practices.
the European Commission launched in 2016 a pilot action for a regional executive programme and exchange component for young civil servants from the Western Balkans, namely the EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans (YPS). Thirty (30) young civil servants (5 from each WB6 beneficiary) benefited from an executive programme implemented in partnership with Science Po and an exchange programme implemented with host administrations in all six Western Balkans countries.
This pilot action delivered last year, has had a positive impact on facilitating and improving two cornerstones of the EU accession process in the Western Balkans: PAR and regional cooperation. Based on the encouraging results of the pilot project presented in the context of the Trieste Summit held in July 2017, the European Commission, following a positive opinion of the IPA Committee (Member States), decided to continue the EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans (YPS) for a further two years.
The present two-year Action is therefore a continuation of the pilot action. It draws on the pilot action’s overall and specific objectives as well as encouraging results.