May 16, 2022

Insights into Successful Cooperation between the CEF and European Commission

As the project "Strengthening Line Ministries’ Capacities to Assess Fiscal Implications of Structural Reforms (FISR)" successfully came to an end, we are happy to share joint reflections by Vasyl Zubaka from the European Commission and Natasha Ilijeva Acevska from the CEF on the FISR project milestones.

“It gives us a great pleasure to present you a summary of our accomplishments and the path we have traveled between 2019–2022 in implementing the regional Fiscal Implications of Structural Reforms (FISR) project, funded by the European Union (EU) through its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II) and carried out by the CEF. The EU has reinforced its economic governance exercise in the context of the enlargement process. 

As of 2015, all EU candidate countries and potential candidates submit their annual Economic Reform Programmes (ERPs) to the European Commission. The ERPs contain medium-term macroeconomic projections (including key macroeconomic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation, trade balance and capital flows), budgetary plans for the next three years, and a structural reform agenda. The latter includes reforms to boost competitiveness and improve conditions for sustainable and inclusive growth and job creation.

With the FISR project, we have connected about 1,500 people from the public administrations in the Western Balkans and Turkey who are involved in the ERP process, and we have delivered more than 90 regional learning and knowledge sharing events. We invite you to enjoy the repository of our knowledge products in the FISR library.

The implementation of structural reforms often faces challenges due to the lack of capacities in strategic planning and for their proper prioritization, medium-term planning, design, calculation of costs and integration into the fiscal framework. We are extremely proud that the national ERP teams in the Western Balkans and Turkey have made evident progress, especially in the times of an unforeseen global pandemic. While carrying out the FISR project, fostering knowledge-sharing culture has been one of our highest priorities. The delivered activities have raised awareness among national ERP teams of the importance of addressing the questions they have among each other and regionally with their peers. The latter is very closely linked to effective communication and nurturing formal and informal networks for collaboration across governments.

We will continue to build on this project’s legacy in promoting greater fiscal policy coordination, especially between finance ministries and line ministries, and supporting exchange of good practices across the region. We are determined to continue the FISR learning journey by responding to the evolving challenges and needs, and offering new learning and knowledge sharing opportunities.

We are very grateful to the many people and institutions who joined this project with commitment and discipline, thus making it a success: the participating public officials and their institutions, the outstanding individuals who help shape the ERP process, the many international and regional experts for sharing their cutting-edge knowledge, and the teams of the European Commission, DG NEAR and the CEF for the good work done in designing and implementing the project.”