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“I’m participating in that meeting in Brussels next week. Is it an expert group or a comitology committee?”
“I need to brief the boss about what to expect. Will the Commission ask her to vote?”
“How can I know where our issue is in the EU decision process, and what comes next?”
Simple questions, the answers to which may be complex, and yet can make your job easier. This course will get you up to speed on the essential elements of how the EU system works: the different powers that the EU has, who does what, and how you can have a role in shaping EU decisions. It is concise but thorough, and focusses in detail on EU law-making.
To get maximum benefits out of this course, irrespective of your level of knowledge on EU decision-making, we have included a preliminary online module that introduces the foundations of decision-making in the EU.
What will you learn
- The legal bases for what the EU can and cannot do
- The main ways in which decisions are taken
- The different powers that Member States have given to the EU
- The differences between legislative acts, implementing acts (the world of ‘comitology’!) and the new delegated acts, relating them to their place in the EU policy cycle, as well as in the hierarchy of laws.
- The decision-making procedures within the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, and the ways in which national officials and other stakeholders fit into the policy process.
- The ordinary legislative procedure and how a ‘trilogue’ works.
- Delegated and implementing acts using topical cases (including the well-known ‘glyphosate’ saga).
In this course, there is plenty of time and opportunity for exercises and discussions. Sufficient breaks and pauses have been included to ensure an effective course.
We believe learning happens best with practical knowledge. So this course includes:
- Extensive insights with multiple examples and real life cases
- Group exercises
- Role plays and simulation games
- Inputs from experienced EU practitioners as the basis for discussion among participants about the practical demands of participation in the various stages of EU decision-making.
For this course we offer two other options for which you can register:
If you are confident of all the basics, and do not feel that you need any further training on it, you can register only for the main course. If you only want to refresh your knowledge you can register for the online Preliminary module.
- Understand the essential principles and procedures that you need to know in order to be credible when operating in an EU context
- Be able to decode messages and reports from Brussels
- Be more effective in your own interactions with other officials
- Be better equipped to explain how things work to your colleagues and associates
- Have a feel for how things work in practice, and be able to prepare appropriately
- Have a solid basis for continuous learning on the job afterwards.
Course material and learning support
To provide course materials and to facilitate learning, we make use of the online platform Moodle.
In order to help retain and deepen the knowledge acquired afterwards, you will receive a copy of Edward Best’s book Understanding EU Decision-Making, published with the support of the EU Publications Office.
You will also have access to the course materials for a duration of three months after the course.
- Officials who have taken on a new role in Brussels
- Officials who have to take part in meetings in the Commission or Council
- Anyone who needs to know how EU decision-making works in practice
European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)
O.L. Vrouweplein 22
6211 HE, Maastricht
The preliminary course on 13 October will take place online via Zoom.
Ms Belinda Vetter
Tel: +31 43 3296382
The fee includes documentation and refreshments. Lunches, a reception or dinner are included if mentioned in the programme. Accommodation and travel costs are at the expense of the participants or their administration.
EIPA member fee
EIPA offers a discount to all civil servants working for one of EIPA’s supporting countries, and civil servants working for an EU institution, body or agency.
Who are the supporting countries?
Civil servants coming from the following EIPA supporting countries are entitled to get the reduced fee: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.
For all other participants, the regular fee applies.
Early bird discount
The early bird discount is not cumulative with other discounts or promo codes, except for the EIPA member fee.
Dietary preferences can be indicated on the registration form.
EIPA has special price arrangements with a number of hotels. All hotels are within 10 minutes walking distance from EIPA. Should you wish to make use of this possibility, please book directly via the links below. Payment is to be made directly and personally to the hotel upon checking out.
Confirmation of registration will be forwarded to participants on receipt of the completed online registration form.
Prior payment is a condition for participation.
For administrative reasons you will be charged €150 for cancellations received within 15 days before the activity begins. There is no charge for qualified substitute participants.
EIPA reserves the right to cancel the activity up to 2 weeks before the starting date. In that case, registration fees received will be fully reimbursed. EIPA accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred (travel, accommodation, etc.).
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|EU decision-making for newcomers (optional preliminary module)|
|12.50||Opening of on-line platform at 12.50, Europe Summer Time (Amsterdam)|
|13.00||The European Union in 2021: basic structures and competences|
|14.15||Group Exercise: Introduction to the EU institutions|
|14.30||Introduction to the EU institutions|
|15.45||Introduction to acts and decision-making procedures|
|16.30||Questions and answers|
|17.00||End of the preliminary module|
|09.00||Welcome and self-presentation of the participants
|09.15||Introduction and overview of EU decision-making
The day begins with a quick quiz and a succinct summary of the main points covered in the preliminary reading / preliminary module concerning the structures and competences of the EU.
|Who does what in the EU institutional system?
In order to engage you actively, we present a simple model of the core EU policy cycle, indicating the main roles and functions that are involved. You will divide into breakout groups and, using an interactive whiteboard tool, you will match schematic outlines with sets of institutional actors and instruments.
The exercise is followed by a debriefing that establishes the framework for the following sessions.
|11.30||The Commission and legislative proposals
You then look in more detail at the start of the policy cycle. We explain how the Commission elaborates legislative proposals and outlines the role of expert groups, public consultations and impact assessments.
|12.20||Group exercise: The Commission and legislative proposals
You will discuss one example of a recent legislative initiative to identify opportunities for stakeholders to provide input to the elaboration of a Commission proposal.
|14.00||The Ordinary Legislative Procedure
We continue with an overview of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, by which the European Parliament and the Council have to agree on most legislative proposals.
|14.40||Worked case study on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure
A case is now presented. This will take you round the whole legislative cycle. The first part looks at the original process from problem definition to adoption and initial implementation of the directive.
|15.25||Case study on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (cont.)
The second part of the AFID case study looks at how the directive was evaluated, and how the Commission prepared a proposal for revision that was presented in July 2021.
|16.00||Assignment of individual roles for the simulation exercise and distribution of mandates. You are invited to devote some time in the afternoon to individual background preparation for the exercise.|
|16.30||Assignment of individual roles for the simulation exercise and distribution of mandates|
|17.30||End of the first day|
|18.30||Reception and dinner|
A different case is now used to simulate a meeting in the Council framework at which you need to reach a compromise text as a basis for negotiation with the European Parliament.
Radovan Schida, Political Administrator, General Secretariat of the Council
|First round of discussions|
|10.00||Second round of discussions|
|11.00||Third round of discussions|
|11.45||Debriefing and general discussion
We now summarize how the act was finalized in the real inter-institutional negotiations and open a general discussion on legislative procedures.
|14.00||Delegated and implementing acts
Group exercise – who does what?
You will work in groups to identify the actors and procedures involved in the adoption of ‘delegated acts’ and ’implementing acts’ and how they are put into practice.
|15.15||Debriefing with specific examples, illustrating how the EU institutions, Member States and stakeholders contribute to the process.|
|16.00||Recapitulation of main points covered during the day|
|Introduction of exercise for day 3 and distribution of preliminary reading.|
|16.30||End of second day|
|16.45||Walking tour of Maastricht|
|09.00||Law and non-law in EU problem-solving
We introduce a policy challenge in the EU. You start by discussing in groups the different levels and instruments of possible action. What can be done at EU, national or sub-state level? How far are legislative approaches applicable? What other methods can be used?
|10.10||You share the conclusions of your work in plenary|
|11.15||Practical perspectives: national officials and EU decision-making
The final sessions discuss how national officials and other stakeholders can prepare to participate effectively in EU meetings.
Mieke De Regt, Member of the Contact Network, Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC); former Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU
|12.05||Practical perspectives: preparing for EU decision-making
Q&A session and discussion led by Mieke De Regt
|12.45||Wrap-up and evaluation|
|13.00||End of the course|
What former participants say
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Excellent, very thorough, dynamic training on EU decision-making procedures, alternating theories and many practical exercises. Bravo
The course was excellent both in content and presentation wise. It could be quite intense at times, but the discussions and simulation exercise made sure that particiants feel involved at all times. Coffee breaks, dinner and farewell reception were very good and provided a good break and an opportunity to network. Expertise and passion for the topics of the lecturers and guest speakers was evident and very motivational. I do hope to have another opportunity to attend an EIPA course some time in the future.
This is a fantastic course for anyone who works with EU legislation, at any stage of the legislative process. The course is comprehensive and thorough, but taught clearly and with great structure by an approachable and very experienced tutor. The school itself is modern and well run and there is a good social dimension to the course.
Very interesting and very practical overview of the law-making process in the EU. It was a really valuable experience.
A very interesting course for everybody who works in an European institution or in a body related to the EU. It presents very thorough content, in a very nice way, with a lot of practical examples, which make it really interesting. There is even a simulation exercise, which lets the participants deeply feel like if they were participating in a EU decision-making process. The organisation (coffee breaks, dinner, supporting materials, etc.) was great. I will recommend it to all my colleagues. I hope that I will have the opportunity to attend a future EIPA course!
The course was excellent and I really feel that it is a must for anyone that is working within the realms of EU Legislation. Not only was the course informative but the use of practical simulation exercises really did help cement the theory. Also the networking opportunity was great, getting to share ideas and thoughts with so many likeminded people. I would most certainly be recommending this course to my colleagues.
Really learned a lot of practical and useful information in the course that I will definitely be able to put to use in my work in Brussels. The expertise of the lecturer was at a very high level and he was able to present the information well and in a clear and organized way, both through lectures and group work. The simulation exercise was fun and effective. I also enjoyed the networking opportunities the course provided.
Excellent course. Very dense on information, but presented comprehensively. In addition to the excellent professor, participants sharing their own EU experience offered very valuable information too.
Very useful and well organized course with a good balance between presentations and interactive excercises, both excellently taught and managed. It brought a good understanding and a clear and logical overview of the EU legislation-making. A good opportunity for networking too. I definitely recommend this course to my colleagues.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course on EU Decision Making - it was very well structured, packed with information and exercises to keep us engaged throughout. A highly impressive online course, that I'd recommend to any peers working in EU advocacy.