Ministers agree on further regional collaboration amongst Western Balkans countries help deliver more effective public services to citizens with European Union support
Montenegro hands over chairmanship of the Regional School of Public Administration to Serbia following the annual meeting of regional Ministers responsible for Public Administration who also celebrated the fifth anniversary of the opening of organisation’s headquarters in Danilovgrad.
Danilovgrad, November 11, 2015 – On the 5th anniversary of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) being located in Montenegro, the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of Montenegro and ReSPA hosted the 6th ReSPA Governing Board Meeting at Ministerial level.
Ministers of the region discussed and agreed further initiatives to enhance regional cooperation and new models for working together, with European Union support, leading to the public administration reform and the delivery of more effective public services.
At the opening of the Governing Board Meeting, Ms. Jadranka Vojinović, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior of Montenegro who was representing the Chair of ReSPA, said: „During the selection of the current composition of the European Commission it was clearly stated that public administration reform should be considered as the third pillar of the integration process of all our countries. In the light of this fact, driven by the need for preparation of state administrations for the obligations that arise from membership in the European Union, we formed ReSPA. By encouraging the exchange of information and experiences, we wanted to create preconditions for a citizen oriented public administration, able to respond to the challenges in the implementation of the highest standards in a modern, efficient and quality manner.”
The European Union supports a range of instruments which help ReSPA Members develop their readiness (including administrative capacities) for EU accession. These include funding ReSPA activities.
Ambassador Mitja Drobnič, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro said: “The European Commission Reports for the enlargement countries, published on Tuesday, place a strong emphasis on improving public administration to ensure that they become more professional and meet business and citizen’s needs and supporting ReSPA’s activities is a key part of our contribution to assisting countries to make progress on the path towards EU integration”.
Mr. Suad Musić, ReSPA Director, in his presentation of the ReSPA medium term strategy entitled ‘Overcoming the Challenges of Change’, emphasised the “importance of regional collaboration, political dialogue and public officials sharing experience around three core ‘pillars’ of public administration reform and better economic governance on the road to EU integration as a core strategic framework for ReSPA over the coming years”.
He also noted that the framework “will allow for clearer objectives and greater certainty when sourcing and securing funding, consulting stakeholders as well as the planning and implementation of work programmes which have a direct impact on reform efforts in the region”.
The South East Europe 2020 Strategy – “Jobs and Prosperity in a European Perspective” has been endorsed across the region. The Regional Cooperation Council and ReSPA have prepared a Regional Action Plan in relation to the component on ‘Governance for Growth’ which focuses on making PA more business friendly.
“Aligning with the Regional Action Plan requires closer cooperation and ensuring synergies between Ministries of Economy and/or Finance and Public Administration ministries in achieving the objectives of our Economic Reform Programmes,” said Mr. Goran Šćepanović, General Director for Multilateral and Regional Trade Cooperation and Foreign Economic Relations, from the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro.
Ministers also adopted the ReSPA Annual Report for the period December 2014–October 2015, as well as the annual budget for 2016. At the conclusion of the meeting, Ms. Jadranka Vojinović, who was representing the Chair Mr. Raško Konjević, Minister of the Interior of the Government of Montenegro, handed over chairmanship to Serbia and presented the ReSPA flag to Mr. Željko Ožegović, State Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, who was representing the incoming Chair of ReSPA, Ms. Kori Udovički, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of Serbia.
The Governing Board Meeting will be followed by a two days Annual Conference focused on further professionalisation and de-politicisation of public administration for the purposes of better serving the needs of citizens of the Western Balkan countries.
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In line with the EU Enlargement Strategy, countries of the Western Balkans jointly initiated the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) in 2003. This inter-governmental institution is a powerful joint instrument for improving regional co-operation, exchanging experience and sharing learning about public administration reform and capacity building whist also assisting its Members (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) on their path to integration within the EU.
ReSPA seeks to achieve its mission through the organisation and delivery of training activities, high level conferences, networking events, studies and other publications, the overall objectives of which are to transfer new knowledge and skills as well as to facilitate the exchange of experiences both within the region and between the region and the EU Member States.
ReSPA operations have been influenced by both external and internal factors including recent developments such as the enhanced EU enlargement approach to Public Administration Reforms, which led to the introduction of Public Administration (PA) Principles and PAR Special Groups which bring together all of the key players in each country.