Oct 10, 2023

Economic Reform Programme Team Plays a Crucial Role in Coordination between Institutions

The Office of Prime Minister in Kosovo plays a crucial role in coordinating various government programs, including the Economic Reform Programme (ERP), which supports the Prime Minister and Cabinet in aligning ministries with government policies. We were happy to talk to Mr. Venhar Nushi, Senior Policy Planning Officer, who oversees the smooth running of the ERP process in Kosovo*.

What does a typical day working in your team look like?
My typical working day starts at 08:00. Apart from turning on my computer and reading e-mails, it starts with a staff meeting, where we discuss all things that are scheduled for that day and the near future. 
The Economic Reform Programme (ERP) is just one of the programs that we coordinate at the Strategic Planning Office. Our office supports the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to ensure that the line ministries act in accordance with strategic government policies. We identify and review the Government’s strategic priorities and important policy issues that are submitted for approval at the Government meeting and that are directly related to the Government’s priorities. We also ensure that the strategic and planning documents drafted by the Government are consistent and in accordance with the Government’s general priorities, including the obligations arising from the EU integration process and other international obligations. We coordinate and lead the development process of the National Development Strategy, which aims to produce a plan that will receive the broad support of stakeholders and will be a consensual guide for the development of the Kosovar economy. In addition, we coordinate and lead the process for the National Development Plan (NDP) and draft policy analyses of cross-sectoral issues, which are simultaneously government priorities.
In the ERP process, I coordinate Chapter 5 on Structural Reforms, and together with priority area coordinators, we prepare the final Structural Reforms of the ERP. Apart from coordinating all activities with priority area coordinators, I liaise and coordinate with the Macro Department of the Ministry of Finance who is responsible for Chapters 3 and 4 of the ERP, and verify the costs planned for each proposed measure in Chapter 6 with the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance. During this period, I organize three high-level meetings with ministers, one mission (EC mission in Kosovo), and a dozen meetings with line ministries who are involved in this process.
What is the biggest challenge when working in the ERP team? 
In Kosovo, the ERP is considered to be one of the most important documents in aspiring for the EU membership. We see it as one of the best practices in the Western Balkans when it comes to coordination between institutions. We involve line ministries right from the beginning of the ERP drafting process, and take account of their proposals. One of the challenges that we have while working in a team is that there is a need for further coordination between the line ministries. With the new ERP guidance note, we have to coordinate much more – out of 20 proposed measures that we had in the previous ERP, now we have to propose only 6. 
Name one thing that you and your team have learned over the years, and that you would recommend to other ERP teams in the region.

Since the ERP helps get closer to the EU enlargement, which is the aim of the Western Balkan countries, for me and my team it is crucial to understand the importance of this process – how it teaches to plan reforms and select the top priorities that your country needs to address. It also teaches that coordination between institutions is crucial, leading to success.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.