EU external assistance

ETF's growing support to EU external assistance

Each year, the ETF supports the European Commission services and EU Delegations in the field of human capital development at bilateral and regional level in the Enlargement, Neighbourhood (East and South) and the Central Asian regions. ETF’s support to EU external assistance is targeted to the project cycle of EU interventions, facilitating EU bilateral and regional sector policy dialogue and providing thematic diagnosis and analysis.

Requests for ETF support have increased in the past year. Highlights include Ukraine, in which the ETF accompanied the EU Delegation in the feasibility study and formulation of the large-scale EU project in VET ‘EU4Skills: “Better Skills for Modern Ukraine” (€38M). And, in Georgia, concluding 2 years of ETF’s intensive work and negotiations with the national authorities, the Financing Agreement of the EU budget support programme ‘Skills Development for Better Employability’ (€50M) was signed. The whole programme was designed by the ETF, including the complementary measures, i.e. Twinning, Grant Scheme and Technical Assistance.

Elsewhere, in Algeria, for the second year, the ETF has been content monitoring the “Appui à la Formation Emploi et Qualifications”-programme, and also designed a new EU project to support youth employability in tourism and handicraft. While in Central Asia, the ETF completed a concept for a new EU regional programme in education, following the completion of the Central Asian Education Platform-programme mid-2018.


The European Union is the world’s biggest donor in the field of human capital development. Upon request, the ETF provides support to the European Commission Headquarters and the EU Delegations present in its Partner Countries. Concerted donor cooperation and ongoing constructive policy dialogue are essential to supporting countries’ sector reforms.

The ETF draws upon its thematic expertise, in-depth country intelligence as well as its long-term involvement and established networks in the countries to support the design, implementation, content monitoring and evaluation of EU interventions, both through project and budget support modalities, in education, training and employment.

The ETF has an active role supporting the EU regional programmes and the regional policy dialogue with the Enlargement, Neighbourhood (East and South) and the Central Asian regions. Key features include advice to regional programmes, thematic inputs to regional cooperation platforms and specific thematic studies on reforms in the regions.

Other recent activities include:

  • In Uzbekistan, the ETF designed with the EU Delegation of Tashkent a 10M€ project on VET and agriculture.
  • In Albania, Serbia, Georgia and Jordan, the ETF has continued to provide support to the budget support related sector policy dialogue through pre-assessment of budget support targets and technical and thematic support to policy dialogue meetings.
  • In Armenia, the ETF is currently facilitating the relaunch of the EU policy dialogue in education and of the budget support programme “Better Qualification for Better Jobs” (15M€), in stand-still since mid-2018.
  • In the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the ETF contributed to the regional policy dialogue through the EaP Platform 4 by delivering thematic sessions and workshops on themes such a future of work and digital skills.  
  • In Azerbaijan and Egypt, the ETF contributed to the policy dialogue through content monitoring of the running EU projects, Education Support Programme (€ 19M) and TVET II (€ 50M) respectively. The outputs feed every year into the Steering Committee meetings of the projects and the dialogue on the reforms with the government.
  • The ETF assisted DG Employment and the Union for Mediterranean in the preparation of the 2019 Employment Ministerial Conference with background notes, panel facilitation etc.
  • In the Enlargement region, the ETF contributed to three Ministerial Conferences – education (Belgrade), employment and social affairs (Luxembourg), and economic development (Poznan). This included analytical notes, briefings and presentation by the ETF Director of the preliminary version of the regional Torino Process assessment.
  • As with each year, the ETF supported the European Light Semester, i.e. the EU policy dialogue with the Enlargement countries on structural reforms, by assessing the countries’ Economic Reform Programmes and contributing to the Commission’s recommendations to the countries.

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