Training the Slovenian Public Administration
EIPA won the project for the preparation of the 2021 Slovenian Presidency of the Council by the Slovenian Academy of the Ministry of Public Administration in 2019. Our role as the leading contracting partner for this project reflects our long-established reputation in presidency preparation for EU Member States, and our previous experience as a trusted partner in the preparation of Slovenia’s first rotating Presidency of the Council in 2007.
The project was initially designed to be delivered face-to-face. But this year, the challenges encountered when delivering the project were not familiar in nature, for obvious reasons. At the beginning of 2020, as the Coronavirus spread across the globe, Brussels and its sui generis model adopted a remote negotiating format with most of the processes managed online. This shift to the online realm raised a crucial question for EIPA’s experts when teaching presidency and EU negotiations processes: how do we teach a course designed to be in person in an online format while ensuring participants remain engaged and achieve the expected learning outcomes? Online learning presents many challenges for both lecturers and participants, but we made use of pedagogical opportunities too, such as pre recording or holding live sessions via video, and the use of ‘breakout rooms’ where participants were able to conduct EU simulation exercises over video chat.
Scope of the Presidency training
During 2020, we implemented a large-scale online training programme for participants from across the Slovenian public administration, including from the Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. Additional sessions were planned for the first semester 2021. By the end of the project, EIPA will have delivered almost 3,000 participant days and 50 activities during three modules:
designed for civil servants who will be appointed as working party chairpersons, deputy chairpersons or national delegates during the Slovenian Presidency. They provide the essential knowledge to enable participants to chair working party meetings in an efficient, structured and meaningful way.
The first one is more principles-oriented where participants acquire relevant knowledge in order to manage working party meetings. In the second, more practice-oriented part, they also receive advice and methodology to further develop their skills, behaviour and interpersonal relationships for effective chairing. The participants practise their roles in genuine EU simulations and role plays.
This practice-oriented module provides ministers and their teams with the essential knowledge and practical skills that enable them to lead EU Council Meetings in an efficient, structured and meaningful way. The training is organised in four integrated modular sessions focusing on managing the strategic preparation, performing the duties of the presidency and the conduct of a council meeting.
Additional training requests following a positive impact assessment
The Slovenian Academy of the Ministry of Public Administration undertook a thorough research on the benefits of the programme by gathering and then analysing the participants’ initial expectations, needs and their level of satisfaction after the training. In this case, the results reported seem to be very high for this type of training.
With requests from the Slovenian side for an increase in the number of training sessions initially planned, the total number of participants and the total number of training days, it is clear that not only did the Slovenian administration enjoy increased returns from this project, but they were continuously satisfied with the service provide throughout the year.