Shaping up for the future: EU Agencies meet at EFSA

Heads of Agencies from 45 EU Agencies across Europe came together at EFSA’s headquarters in Parma, Italy, last week to discuss common strategic initiatives. In particular, they looked into more efficient ways of working together to provide more value for Europe’s citizens while saving taxpayers’ money. The meeting, also attended by representatives from the European Commission, Parliament and Council, was hosted by EFSA as current chair of the European Network of Agencies (EUAN). EU Agencies work in a wide range of policy areas, from health and environment, to migration and security, to business and innovation.

The focus of the Heads of Agencies meeting (6-7 July) was on reviewing the progress made on the actions laid out in the Network’s Work Programme: increased sharing of services and capabilities among agencies; common initiatives to enhance agencies’ value creation in line with EU strategic priorities; improved internal governance of the Network; and more visible communication on the services provided by the agencies for European citizens.

Heads of Agencies also discussed current and future challenges, and how the EU agency model could be re-shaped to address these. In an intense half-day workshop, participants explored the possibility of sharing capabilities in human resource management, and they also looked at the state of play of Brexit and its possible impact on the agencies, in particular with a view to the EU multiannual financial framework for 2020 and beyond.

Putting priorities into practice

In a separate meeting of EU Agencies’ of Heads of Resources (5-6 July), delegates dealt, among others, with hands-on implications of putting strategic priorities into practice. Concrete examples included joint procurement, shared IT services, inter-agency job advertisements, budgetary and staff management rules, and agencies’ access to SYSPER, the HR management IT tool used by the Commission and other EU bodies.

Alberto Spagnolli, EFSA’s Senior Policy Adviser, said: “This first high-level meeting hosted by EFSA marks an important step in delivering on the Network’s work programme for 2017-18. With a strong focus on modernising human resource management and creating efficiencies through innovation and cooperation, the meeting saw progress at generating more value for Europe’s citizens while saving taxpayers’ money.”

The European Agencies Network comprises 45 agencies based in EU Member States. Sharing resources and expertise, the agencies have an impact on a wide range of areas that touch the lives of European citizens – from food safety and medicines, to police and justice, vocational training and working conditions, nuclear energy, environmental protection, research, transport and satellite systems.

In March 2017, EFSA took over the chairmanship of the Network, which runs until March 2018. A second high-level EUAN meeting is planned for February 2018.

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