27. 9. 2023 16:57

The delegation of the European Commission presented the possibilities of support from the Technical Support Instrument during their visit in Prague

On September 15, a delegation of the European Commission (namely The Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support) headed by the Director for Support to Member State reforms Nathalie Berger visited the Czech Republic. The visit of the European Commission (EC) delegation took place in the context of the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) 2024 round. On this occasion, the Office of the Government organized a meeting in the Straka Academy with the participation of public administration institutions, which have been informed about TSI 2024 round and also about successful projects supported by this directly managed program of the EC.

The meeting was opened by the Director General of the Section for European Affairs of the Office of the Government, Štěpán Černý, who appreciated all support provided by the TSI instrument to Czech reform projects. The Czech Republic has up to now participated in all regular and special rounds of the TSI and its predecessor, the Structural Reform Support Programme. For example, last year the EC supported projects with an estimated amount of support of more than 4 million EUR. At the same time, General Director Černý informed the EC about the current national priorities in the areas of digitization and ensuring cyber security and appreciated that this TSI 2024 round reflects mentioned national needs. He also highlighted projects aimed at supporting the implementation of Recovery and Resilience Plans (in the case of the Czech Republic the National Recovery Plan).

The TSI 2024 round is essentially the last one when the member states can submit projects for support to the implementation of Recovery and Resilience Plans, taking into account the need to meet all the milestones and targets of these plans by 2026. The importance of this support through the TSI instrument is also crucial because many member states put forward their modified plans to the EC in terms of the impacts of the war in Ukraine and the objectives of the REPowerEU plan. In this regard, the Czech Republic submitted its modified National Recovery Plan at the end of June this year.

Afterwards, Director Nathalie Berger pointed out the possibilities of multi-country and multi-regional cooperation of EU member states using the TSI. Although member states may face specific challenges in the context of the national economy or social issues, the EC tries to identify the common needs of several member states and thus strengthen the reform efforts of the EU as a whole. Trying to strengthen the efficiency and resilience of public institutions in the member states, DG REFORM offers the possibility of a cross-border exchange of public administration employees to obtain examples of good practices from abroad. In this respect, Director Berger mentioned the possibility of using one of the TSI flagship projects "Public Administration Cooperation Exchange".

During the meeting, the Ministry of Industry and Trade presented experiences with their TSI project aimed at supporting communication for the effective implementation of the Czech National Recovery Plan, and subsequently the Office of the Government reported on experiences with its project to create practical guidelines for the application of the "do no significant harm" principle, which is part of the conditions for the implementation of investments not only in terms of the National Recovery Plan, but also of other European funds and programs. The all-European importance of this project is also underlined by the fact that in last TSI round, this policy area has been chosen as one of the flagship projects to help other member states.

In the afternoon, the EC delegation met in terms of the bilateral negotiations with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Analysis Office, the General Financial Directorate, and the Ministry of the Interior about their planned projects for this TSI round. The EC delegation provided not only their recommendations concerning the procedure for submitting project requests but also their feedback related to the specifics of the intended projects. The possibility to get its feedback on drafts of project requests from the DG REFORM is highly appreciated by applicants for support from the TSI in the long term, as it increases the quality of submitted project applications and thus the chance of selecting a given project for support.

For this TSI round the deadline for submitting project applications to the Office of the Government has been set at the national level on October 9, 2023. However, applicants can send their drafts of project requests even earlier before this date to initiate technical consultations with the EC and thus obtain first feedback on the project.

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