Today the Commission is launching a new platform for public service officials to exchange expertise and best practice around Europe, to further improve how EU investments are spent and managed. By helping Member States strengthen administrative capacity, TAIEX REGIO PEER 2 PEER, or PEER 2 PEER, is part of a broader initiative to fully use the potential of Regional Policy to create jobs and ensure sustainable growth, in line with the goals set by the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU's new €315 billion Investment Plan.
Across the EU, 24 000 officials from national and local administrations are involved in managing the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund. PEER 2 PEER aims to capitalise on their know how and deliver better results by sharing their expertise and good practice through a new online platform where administrations can get and offer assistance.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu said: "People living in Europe's regions are not going to feel the benefit of projects supported by Regional Policy if local and national administrations managing these funds are not robust and efficient. When I came into office, I made it my priority to help them deliver the benefits of our policy's investments through top-quality management at all stages. This PEER 2 PEER initiative is an important step: it is flexible, easy to use and addresses the specific needs of our regions."
PEER 2 PEER will be officially presented to stakeholders and representatives of Member States and regions during a launch event today in Brussels. This initiative is implemented as a pilot project, and its impact will be evaluated in 2016.
PEER 2 PEER responds directly to specific requests from public administrations around Europe to deal with project management and investments in areas from ICT to energy efficiency. It will provide assistance through short-term expert missions, study visits and workshops.
The system was developed on the basis of the Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument (TAIEX), which has already proven its success with the Commission Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, in EU candidate countries using Pre-Accession funding.
The main features of the PEER 2 PEER system are:
- Convenience: short-term expert exchanges are organised while keeping the administrative burden to a minimum
- Flexibility: it allows for different types of exchanges - expert missions, study visits and workshops – to address the needs identified by authorities managing the investment programmes in Member States.
- Promptness: exchanges can be launched swiftly once needs have been identified.
- Focus: exchanges concentrate on concrete and specific topics
- Quality: there are several in-built mechanisms for quality control and assessment of experts and exchanges.
A study commissioned by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy confirmed that there is high demand for a peer-to-peer exchange instrument among bodies managing the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund. It showed that 90% of the interviewees were interested in peer-to-peer learning, while 50% stated they had concrete capacity building needs.