EU delegations in partner countries are also there to help decentralised cooperation projects and partnerships

8 mayo 2020

“Get in touch with EU delegation, they are your key allies in partner countries”, said in substance representatives of the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to representatives of towns and regions during a webinar organised by PLATFORMA on 23 April.

This online meeting gathered more than 80 participants around the topic “How does an EU Delegation work? An insight from the inside”. It was the second one organised by PLATFORMA. The main goal was to give local and regional governments a better understanding of how EU delegations can help the setting or development of decentralised cooperation projects on the ground in the context of the EU upcoming financial period.

The discussion was timely: the programming process started already, at country level and in Brussels. It was crucial for Local and Regional Governments to understand how they can best engage with the EU Delegations.

Both Anna Lixi, Team Leader – Local Authorities at DG DEVCO and Peter Frisch from the Development Cooperation Coordination Division at the EEAS made clear that the context has largely changed with the setting of the EEAS 10 years ago and the transformation of European Commission delegations into EU delegations. Ms Lixi said it was important to get used with the particular setting of each delegation which are “rather like embassies” in which development cooperation departments have been often diluted between more political or thematic experts.

Mr Firsh also insisted on the central role played by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the daily work of the delegations: “the 2030 Agenda is really the game changer and gives a lot of space for Local Authorities,” he said, with SDG 11 being “the cornerstone of the localisation process.”

Agathe Plauchut, from the Coordination and Programming of External Financing Instruments Unit at DG DEVCO, updated participants on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the NDICI instrument. She insisted that with the disappearing of a specific budget line for local authorities, “programming for each country will be mainly designed on the ground”. She called on representatives of local and regional governments “to be engaged with EU delegations since the beginning.”

Participants were concerned by this new architecture, stressing that “local governments need to find their way”. They called for “a formal mechanism within the EU delegations” to ensure that local and regional governments and their associations are part of the whole programming process during the 7 years.

This webinar was also the right moment for PLATFORMA to present the first outcomes of a study on EU Delegations and Decentralised Cooperation to be published in Autumn.

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