Strengthening EU Public Administration: Meet Project Director for EIPA’s Framework Contract on EU Governance

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Wolfgang Koeth, Senior Expert and Project Director for EIPA’s framework contract on EU Governance and policy training, has vast expertise in EU governance and EU external relations. In this conversation, we explore his role in strengthening the EU Public Administration within the European Union and we delve into his professional journey, achievements, and hopes for the future, offering insights into the dynamic world of EU affairs.

What I find truly rewarding is providing added value to EU professionals, offering insights and contributing directly to the process of building Europe.”

What are your primary responsibilities and daily tasks, particularly as the Project Director for EIPA’s framework contract on EU Governance?

As Project Director for EIPA’s framework contract on EU Governance, I am in charge of our framework contract on governance and policy training with EU institutions. This involves being in direct contact with the EU institutions, discussing their needs, responding to their requests, and developing and maintaining a network of high-level experts. For this, I am supported by a team of project managers and in-house experts, in charge of preparing and delivering our training activities.

Creating a shared European mindset among policymakers and diplomats is crucial. Fostering the understanding that we’re part of one team, “Team Europe”, is essential to deliver a coherent message and to act collectively.”

As a Senior Expert, what are your main responsibilities?

As Senior Expert, I deliver training courses for EU officials, with a specialisation in EU external relations. Beyond teaching, I also manage some courses that are delivered by external experts and moderate conferences. When EIPA lacks in-house expertise for a specific topic, I identify external experts, design programmes, and guide them as the Project Leader.

What aspect of your work brings you the most fulfilment?

What I find truly rewarding is being able to provide added value to EU professionals. I also enjoy the opportunity to have direct exchanges with EU policymakers, which enable me to further enhance my understanding of the EU and its policies.

Can you highlight a proud achievement during your time at EIPA?

I remember a few high-level projects I was in charge of, for example, our feasibility study for a European Diplomatic Academy. When I see positive outcomes, it brings me great pride to know I played a role in it.

Looking ahead, what is your ideal outlook for the EU?

To be able to continue the construction of an EU that serves the interests of its citizens while promoting its values internally and externally. But especially in its external relations, there is room for growth. The EU still punches below its weight globally.

What steps do you think are necessary to achieve this ideal?

Creating a shared European mindset among policymakers and diplomats is crucial. Fostering the understanding that we are part of one team, “Team Europe”, is essential to deliver a coherent message and to act collectively. In certain areas, like the internal market, the EU is already quite advanced, but when it comes to external relations and diplomacy, we are still far from that. I would hope that with the work I am doing here and with my input, I can contribute a little bit to making the EU more functional and to be a more authoritative global player.

What do you think are the steps needed to make this happen?

Concrete steps to achieve this are using the full potential of our treaties, in particular the possibility to take certain decisions in foreign policy by a qualified majority. But for this, it takes political will by our political leaders. During past crises, the EU has shown that it can take decisive action and deliver very quickly. This momentum must be sustained, even if no crisis is compelling us to take action.

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