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The European Training Foundation, as an agency of the European Union, was established by Council Regulation No. 1360 in 1990, recast No. 1339 in 2008.

The regulation, adopted  at the beginning of 1990, has been the result of the necessary decisions for the establishment of a European Training Foundation for Central and Eastern Europe, acting on a proposal from the Commission. This Regulation established the European Training Foundation, whose objective was to contribute to the development of the vocational training systems of Central and Eastern Europe countries designated as eligible for economic aid by the Council in Regulation (EEC) No 3906/89 or any subsequent relevant legal act, the new independent States of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia which are the beneficiaries of the programme to assist economic reform and recovery pursuant to Regulation No 1279/96 or any subsequent relevant legal act, the Mediterranean non-member countries and territories which are the beneficiaries of the financial and technical measures to accompany the reform of their economic and social structures pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1488/96 or any subsequent relevant legal act, the countries which are beneficiaries under Regulation (EC) No 2666/2000 and Corrigendum to Council Regulation (EC) No 2666/2000 or any subsequent relevant legal act.

Following the general guidelines established at Community level, the regulation provides guidelines on how the Foundation has been created to work in the training field, covering initial and continuing vocational training as well as retraining for young people and adults, including in particular management training.

In particular, the regulation specifies that the Foundation has to seek to promote effective cooperation between the Community and the eligible countries in the field of vocational training and, on the other side, contribute to the coordination of assistance provided by the Community, its Member States and the third countries.

The enlarged mandate, which can be seen as a strong recognition of the work the ETF has provided to partner countries since 1994, has been defined through the recast regulation No. 1339 in 2008.

Currently the ETF works in 29 partner countries, but the regulation opens the door for the deployment of ETF expertise in countries other than those covered by the instruments for Pre-Accession and the Neighbourhood Partnership. The ETF is therefore able to operate in all of the EU’s partner countries, including those in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and Latin America.

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