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European Training Foundation (ETF)

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The European Training Foundation (ETF) aims to contribute to the development of vocational training systems by strengthening cooperation in the field of vocational training and ensuring the coordination of aid. The ETF's activities cover the candidate countries for accession to the European Union, the countries of the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Mediterranean partner countries.

ACT

Council Regulation (EEC) No 1360/90 of 7 May 1990 establishing a European Training Foundation [See amending acts]

SUMMARY

The European Training Foundation (ETF) is a decentralised Community agency based in Turin, whose aim it to support and promote the development of vocational training systems in eligible countries. These countries are:

  • the candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU), i.e. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia and Turkey;
  • the potential candidate countries (countries of the Western Balkans), i.e. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, including Kosovo (defined by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244);
  • the countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan;
  • the Mediterranean Partner countries, consisting of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Tunisia.

Education and skills

To meet its initial objective, the ETF, as a centre of expertise, seeks to:

  • promote effective cooperation between the EU and the eligible countries in the field of vocational training,
  • coordinate the aid provided by the EU, the Member States and third countries making the same commitment.

Its field of action covers both initial and continuing vocational training, for young people or for adults. ETF action complements the reform process in the eligible countries, thus helping to achieve the objectives defined by the EU in the field of vocational training. In practice, the ETF's priorities are governed by the EU's external policy with each of the eligible countries.

More specifically, the ETF's functions may involve:

  • providing assistance in defining training needs and priorities through the implementation of technical assistance and cooperation measures with the eligible countries;
  • providing all interested parties with information on current initiatives and needs and providing a framework to bring together offers of assistance;
  • examining the scope for joint ventures relating to training assistance, including pilot projects, based on multinational teams;
  • funding the design and preparation of pilot projects;
  • implementing, at the request of the Commission, the beneficiary countries or the governing board, vocational training programmes set up by the Commission and one or more of the eligible countries as part of the Community's policies of assistance to these countries. Priority is, in principle, given to innovative projects. Also, with respect to the candidate countries, emphasis is also placed on projects which relate directly to the Community's programmes in the field of vocational training;
  • ensuring that bodies with proven experience in this field implement ETF-related activities and projects (conducting studies, compilation, implementation, or management on a decentralised and flexible basis);
  • conferring on the governing board the power to lay down tendering procedures for projects funded or co-financed by the Foundation;
  • helping to monitor and evaluate the overall effectiveness of assistance, in collaboration with the Commission;
  • disseminating information and encouraging exchanges of experience, through publications, meetings, and other appropriate means;
  • carrying out other tasks agreed by the governing board and the Commission in accordance with its founding Regulation.

The Foundation has legal personality and is a non-profit-making body. In exercising its powers, the ETF works for all departments of the Commission, primarily the Directorate-General for Education and Culture, which is its supervisory DG, but also for the Directorate-General for External Relations, the Directorate-General for Enlargement, EuropeAid and the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Structure

5.The ETF's governing board is composed of one representative per Member State and three representatives of the Commission. The term of office of the representatives is three years (renewable). Each member has one vote, with the exception of the three Commission representatives, who have a single vote between them, and the chairperson. The governing board is chaired by one of the Commission representatives.

The governing board is responsible for examining the preliminary draft work programme and adopting the annual report. It also produces a statement of estimates of revenue and expenditure for the following financial year and gives its opinion on the ETF's final accounts for the previous year.

The ETF advisory forum is appointed by the governing board. It is made up of experts working in the field of training and, more broadly, in the areas covered by the Foundation's activities. It thus has two experts from each Member State and eligible country and from the social partners at European level. Their task is to deliver opinions on the annual work programme to the governing board.

8.The Director of the ETF is appointed by the governing board, following a proposal by the Commission, for a term of office of five years, which is once renewable. In addition to representing the Foundation, the Director is responsible for its administration. They prepare and organise the work of the governing board and carry out its decisions. They prepare the annual work programme and reports, the statement of estimates of revenue and expenditure under the budgetary procedure and implement the budget.

Rules of operation

ETF and EU activities must complement each other, be these EU actions or Community assistance offered to the eligible countries as with the Tempus programme. In this context, the ETF works closely with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP).

Public access to ETF documents complies with the general rules laid down by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001 with the governing board specifying how they are implemented. Complaints against its decisions may be referred to the Ombudsman or brought before the Court of Justice.

The ETF budget is part of the general budget of the European Union and thus becomes final following final adoption of the EU general budget. The accounts are drawn up at the end of the financial year and become final after control by the Court of Auditors, the opinion of the governing board and publication.

Background

The ETF was set up in 1990 to meet the vocational training needs of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe which were eligible for Community assistance. The ETF's mission was defined in terms of its complementarity with the reform process undertaken in the eligible countries. Since 1990, the geographical coverage of its mandate has gradually expanded to cover all the countries currently eligible since 2000. Its powers have also evolved on account of the flexibility it offers.

For further information, please consult the European Training Foundation website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1360/90

30.10.1993

-

OJ L 131, 23. 05. 1990

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2063/94

28.08.1994

-

OJ L 216, 20. 08. 1994

Regulation (EC) No 1572/98

31.07.1998

-

OJ L 206, 23. 07. 1998

Regulation (EC) No 1648/2003

1.10.2003

-

OJ L 245, 29. 09. 2003

RELATED ACTS

ANNUAL REPORTS

Since 2003, the European Training Foundation has had the competence to adopt its annual reports, whereas this competence had previously been delegated to the Commission. These reports can also be consulted on the ETF's website.

European Training Foundation Annual Activity Report 2005.
European Training Foundation Annual Activity Report 2004.
European Training Foundation Annual Activity Report 2003.
Commission's 2002 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(2003) 809 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 2001 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(2002) 440 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 2000 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(2001) 810 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 1999 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(2000) 810 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 1998 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(1999) 340 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission report of 28 July 1998 to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee on the European Training Foundation [COM(1998) 481 final, not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 1996 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(1997) 381 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 1995 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(1997) 381 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
Commission's 1994 annual report on the European Training Foundation [COM(1995) 388 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

THREE-YEARLY EVALUATION (Article 17 of Regulation (EEC) No 1360/90)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee - The European Training Foundation [COM(2006) 832 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
This report offers an analysis of how the ETF evolved over the period 2002 - 2005 and presents recommendations based on the external evaluation conducted on the Foundation. Given that the ETF's mission is linked to the EU's external relations policy and Community aid instruments for eligible countries, the Foundation should take these changes into account in adapting to the new instruments for the period 2007 - 2013 (the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)).
The Commission, on the basis of the external evaluation, offers recommendations on the role, objectives and priorities, and structure of the ETF. These recommendations focus on its policy and strategy, its governance structures, the efficiency and effectiveness of its programmes, the monitoring thereof and on the communication and dissemination of information on its achievements and results. These recommendations form the basis for amending the Regulation setting up the ETF. The ETF should thus take a look at its planning cycle and draw up indicators designed to measure the results of its action in the eligible countries. The Commission also recommends expanding its thematic remit beyond the field of vocational training to encompass lifelong learning and the needs of the labour market. Its geographical range should be restricted to countries benefiting from the IPA and the ENPI, with the extension of its powers to Central Asia being based on an ad hoc decision. The functions of the ETF should also be focused more on assistance to the eligible countries as regards human resource development (development issues, capacity-building, follow-up to Community assistance). They should also support the exchange of information, experience and good practice as well as networking between partners.

Communication from the Commission of 22 May 2003 to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee - The European Training Foundation [COM(2003) 287 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Within the Community's new external relations policy framework anticipating devolution of competence to the Delegations, the Foundation has a useful contribution to make as a centre of expertise in all four regions of its mandate. However, the Foundation should accelerate its adaptation to the new external relations environment by consolidating its work programmes and existing regional frameworks, through improved and ongoing consultation with stakeholders and by reinforcing links to the Commission's programming and planning cycle. This requires a stronger commitment on the part of the Commission and the Foundation to significantly improving communication, in the framework of the structured dialogue at both management and operational level. The Foundation's new external communication strategy should also be accompanied by an internal debate to ensure greater clarity of the position and role of the Foundation as a centre of expertise within the new institutional framework. Furthermore, the Commission invites the Foundation to submit a draft action plan to the governing board, outlining its analysis and proposed action on all recommendations made by the evaluator and by the Commission in the report. The Commission would welcome a broader discussion, with the governing board in particular, on the Foundation's future orientations.

Commission report of 18 July 1997 to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee on the European Training Foundation [COM(1997) 379 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
After a six-month preparatory period, the Foundation started its activities in Turin in January 1995. Programme management functions were established, firstly with the transfer of the task to assist the Commission in the management of the Tempus programme. The Observatory, whose objective is to gather accurate, up-to-date information and to analyse developments, needs and priorities in vocational training in the partner countries, is now largely operational. Up to now, the Foundation has deployed its analytical capacity mainly for the benefit of the Commission by providing advice and information. The management, technical support and monitoring of projects/programmes for the Commission (under Tempus, Phare and Tacis) has de facto become the main thrust of the Foundation's activity.
To date, the Foundation has been financed exclusively by the Community, with a total of EUR 15.4 million earmarked for 1997. Direct expenses associated with Community programmes administered by the Foundation were financed from the respective programme budgets.
Evaluation of the Foundation's activities over the first three years, carried out by an independent contractor, highlights the distinct "added value" provided by the Foundation, particularly with regard to its contribution to the Phare and Tacis programmes and through the concrete results achieved with the Foundation's advisory and training activities. Its role as a "clearing house" and "centre of training expertise" should, however, be developed further.
The Commission considers that the support given to Phare and Tacis should not be to the detriment of the Foundation's original tasks, and that the Foundation should continue to improve the dissemination and exchange of information and know-how, and should reinforce its cooperation with the Member States. It is, however, vital that the operational link with Community actions and policies vis-à-vis the partner countries be maintained, especially so as to ensure a common approach on vocational training policies: such a link will determine the Foundation's role in the pre-accession process.

Last updated: 11.07.2007
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