A group of Macedonian civil servants recently visited Brussels to learn about the EU and Norway. Photo: Stian Mathisen/MFA

Norway supports Macedonia’s EU preparations

Last updated: 19.12.2013 // A group of Macedonian civil servants recently visited Norway House in Brussels to learn more about Norway’s relationship with the EU and Norwegian management- and ICT-policies. The visit was part of a capacity building project that Norway is financing.

Through the project “Sustainable EU Learning and Training System” Norway helps Macedonia prepare for EU membership. The project’s purpose is to support Macedonia’s efforts to meet EU requirements for countries seeking EU membership, and to help Macedonia in implementing the EU’s Stabilization and Association Agreement.

Additionally, the project will support the Macedonian authorities’ efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, rule of law and human rights, as well as help developing sustainable economic and social development. The project will also help to create even stronger ties between Macedonia and Norway.

A visit to Norway House in Brussels
One element of the project is capacity building programs for Macedonian government employees. In December, a group of 17 people working with ICT and management in the Macedonian public sector visited Brussels, as part of the course “E-government and Public Sector Modernization”.

The group spent one day at Norway House, where they heard several lectures about Norway’s relationship with the EU, EFTA and the EEA funds, and how Norway and the EU work with ICT and management policies.

In addition to the lectures at Norway House, the group met with representatives of several EU institutions to learn more about how the EU works with ICT and management.

Learning about the EU perspectives
The Brussels trip constitutes the second part of the course, which started with a one week training course in Skopje, the capitol of Macedonia.

– The first part of the course consisted of four course days in Skopje, followed by an exam, and those who passed the exam were given the opportunity to attend the second part of the course, which is the study trip to Brussels. During the study tour we continue with the themes of the course in Skopje, but with a broader perspective, with speeches from various people working with ICT and public administration in the EU institutions or in connection with the EU, says Nevanka Stamenkovska.

She is one of the participants in the course and is working as a program officer at Macedonia’s European Secretariat in Skopje. Norway has previously provided financial assistance to establish the Secretariat.

– This is an interesting course because we are learning about how other countries work with ICT and public administration, and we learn about the EU perspective. We also learn about how the EU works with the process for Macedonia to become part of the EU, she says.

One out of six courses
The course “E-government and Public Sector Modernization” is one of six courses funded by the Sustainable EU Learning and Training System. Other areas also covered with special courses are transport policy, regional policy, project management, EU’s internal market and decision making in the EU institutions.

Altogether, four groups of Macedonian course participants will visit Brussels in the period from November 2013 to February 2014, to meet the EU delegation, Norwegians working in the European Commission and representatives of the EFTA, ESA and EEA Grants Secretariat in Brussels (FMO).

Support to other countries in the Western Balkans
In addition to helping with support for Macedonia’s preparations for EU membership, Norway also supports other countries in the Western Balkans in dealing with membership preparations.

For Montenegro, who is negotiating with the EU about future membership, Norway contributes with funds to strengthen the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry’s negotiating capacity. For Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, who have not yet started negotiations, all Norwegian contributions are based on Euro-Atlantic integration.

In Serbia, Norway has for several years been a major supporter of the country’s EU integration. The portfolio has included projects for the implementation of the EU Directive in areas from energy and environment to the justice sector and specific actions like visits to Brussels to learn about the EU institutions. Norway and Serbia recently signed a framework agreement for bilateral cooperation.

– Everything we do in the Western Balkans aims to support Euro-Atlantic integration, says Senior Adviser in the Foreign Affairs Western Balkans section, Jannicke Bain.

Norway’s assistance to the Western Balkans was in 2013 at about 400 million NOK (approx. 50 million EUR). 

Source: Stian Mathisen, Mission of Norway to the EU   |   Bookmark and Share