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Study on peer-learning tools for the administrative capacity building of Member State bodies involved in the management of funds from the ERDF and the Cohesion fund

DG REGIO is actively investing into capacity building tools targeted at experts and practitioners of the Member States, since effective management and implementation of the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund, along with financial resources, require a strong administrative capacity. Among these various tools and networks, DG REGIO funds and supports two peer learning schemes, the TAIEX-REGIO Peer 2 Peer and the Communities of Practitioners (CoPs). TAIEX-REGIO Peer 2 Peer is a scheme facilitating exchanges between national and regional bodies managing and administering the ERDF and the Cohesion funds. It supports study visits, expert missions and workshops. CoPs are networks of administrators from different EU Member States involved in managing EU funding under the ERDF and Cohesion fund. The communities are built by the participants themselves (with the facilitation of the Community Manager) who also propose the topics, issues, and common challenges to be discussed.

The objectives of the study were to (1) provide a comprehensive overview of the functioning and results of the peer learning schemes developed by DG REGIO (TAIEX-REGIO Peer 2 Peer and CoPs) (2) and assess the scope to develop the schemes further into a more comprehensive peer learning scheme to build up administrative capacity in the EU’s Member States. The study focused especially on the role played by peer learning in DG REGIO’s work to support administrative capacity building, and the actual and potential link to other tools used by DG REGIO.

The study team concluded that there are no strong arguments that would support the discontinuation of TAIEX-REGIO Peer 2 Peer and CoPs. The participation in the schemes resulted in evident individual-level outcomes, including improvement of professional knowledge and expertise, networking and soft skills of the participants. Study evidence shows that the schemes live up to their guiding principles; peer learning principle is much appreciated by the users of the schemes; schemes address the needs of the users. Finally, the users of the schemes are satisfied with the overall functioning of TAIEX-REGIO Peer 2 Peer and CoPs.

To develop the schemes further, the study team proposed four main pathways and their preferred configuration, aiming to improve coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the schemes. Detailed actionable recommendations support each of the pathway proposed.