ReSPA Conference on Regional Co-operation for Public Administration Reforms in the Western Balkans
Brussels, 21-22 November 2018 - The two-day conference entitled “Public Administration Improvements through Regional Cooperation”, brought together high representatives of Western Balkan state administrations. Presentations and discussions at the Conference mainly concerned some of the most remarkable achievements in the previous year: presentations of studies and results of direct support to ReSPA Members.
Since 2016, in collaboration with numerous partners from Europe and Western Balkans and supported by more than 200 international and regional experts, ReSPA has networked around 2.000 public servants in the region through at least 90 capacity building activities. In the mentioned period, ReSPA has also produced more than 10 regional comparative studies with policy recommendations based on good practices from the region and EU Member States.
“We have directly supported the governments within ReSPA’s remit through provision of expertise for concrete legislative and policy solutions, through organisation of peering activities and mobility schemes; we have significantly developed a high-level policy dialogue among ministers responsible for public administration in the Western Balkans, thus enabling direct exchange among decision makers, and we have enlarged the scope of line ministries and other administrative bodies with whom ReSPA has been cooperating, within our region and beyond. I am particularly proud to say that we have strengthened, diversified and structured our cooperation with the main partners in this field, such as the OECD/SIGMA, Centre of Excellence in Finance, Regional Cooperation Council, Centre for Public Administration Research from Austria, and many others”, said Ms. Ratka Sekulović, Director of ReSPA.
Congratulating ReSPA on the results and announcing continued support of the EU to its activities, Ms. Barbara Banki Gardinal, Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) said that the focus on public administration reform (PAR) would be more and more important, and the EU would also feature more prominently the future negotiation framework.
“ReSPA has grown as a very important partner of the EU to support PAR in the region, and it was also able to consolidate its role as a regional hub for support to the PAR and facilitation of the accession process. It is very important how ReSPA has taken a more proactive role to interact with other regional organisations and other stakeholders, because it is really important to ensure complementarity, and that we all go in the same direction. There was a great progress in PAR, we were able to strengthen the central bodies coordinating PAR such as ministries of PAR and finance, e-government offices, etc. Now it is really important that this work also materialise and show itself in the work with line ministries. There we really see a key role for ReSPA,“ said Ms. Banki Gardinal and added that by any means a functioning regional cooperation is so important, in particular at the present time.