FUTURE ORGANISATION OF COMMISSION DEPARTMENTS
MANAGING COMMUNITY AID TO NON-MEMBER COUNTRIES: ESTABLISHMENT
OF A JOINT SERVICE TO MANAGE COMMUNITY AID TO NON-MEMBER COUNTRIES
Text of an internal Commission memorandum
of October 1997 provided by DG 1A in response to a request by
Sub-Committee C for a note on the now Common Services Directorate
(see paragraph 74 of the Report)
Community aid to non-member countries has developed
considerably in recent years in terms both of the sums administered
and the range of tasks performed.
This year the Union's aid to non-member countries
will total almost ECU 7 billion (plus ECU 2-3 billion
in loans and guarantees). The sums involved impose more efficient
management of Community aid, especially since the Commission has
relatively fewer staff to manage this aid than most Member States.
It is, moreover, highly unlikely that further human resources
will become available in the near future.
The diverse aid instruments and management procedures
are crying out for coordination and consistency, though not at
the expense of the flexibility needed to copy with specific (humanitarian
aid) situations or changing circumstances.
As matters stand, Community aid to non-member
countries is not receiving due recognition and generates patchy
results in terms of international political, geostrategic and
Hence the need for a system of administrative
and technical management able to:
simplify and rationalise the management
of Community aid;
make practices more consistent;
make dealings with economic operators
generate economies of scale;
take account of the highly political
nature of the Community's aid programmes to non-member countries,
some of which call for shrewd political judgment, and their specific
management requirements, including the degree to which administration
is devolved to the national authorities of the recipient countries.
This proposal is a joint effort by the external
relations DGs, which have been cooperating with DG IX, DG XIX
and the SG in a working party that has produced a series of three
reports to the external relations DGs, and the relevant Members
of the Commission since it was set up in June 1996. The Members
concerned have opted for the approach set out in this memorandum.
It is proposed that the Commission set up a
"Joint Service for the management of Community aid to non-member
countries". This in-house service would be common to the
Directorates-General responsible for implementing Community aid
to non-member countries, namely I, IA, IB, VIII and ECHO.
By setting up this service, which is consistent
with its general guidelines for SEM 2000 and MAP 2000, the
aims to balance the administrative
autonomy vital for such a service to work effectively with the
supervision that Directorates-General have to exercise over the
implementation of their aid programmes to ensure that the joint
structure continues to serve the objectives laid down in their
aims to ensure that all involved
in the management of Community aid, be it in the existing DGs
or the new service, at headquarters or in the delegations, assume
their responsibilities in full;
proposes that the Members dealing
with external relations be collectively responsible for the service.
This situation will be reviewed in the light of the declaration
adopted by the Amsterdam European Council on the organisation
and working of the Commission. This does not preclude other options
from being taken into account in the longer term.
Steps will be taken to make sure that the delegations,
the external relations DGs and the Joint Service interact smoothly
on the basis of their respective responsibilities.
1. Functions and tasks of the Joint Service
Strategy and policy-making are handled by the
external relations DG responsible for the geographical area concerned.
The plan is to transfer to the Joint Service the financial, accounting,
contractual and legal side of project management together with
certain technical aspects.
In order to ensure the viability of the system
and make cooperation with non-member countries more effective,
permanent cooperation between the external relations DGs and the
Joint Service is vital, even where primary responsibility switches
from one to another at different stages in the project cycle (programming,
appraisal, execution, supervision and evaluation).
At this stage it is clear that programming,
the political decision authorising the commitment of appropriations,
responsibility for the overall terms of reference and the signing
of financing agreements are matters for the geographical DGs.
The same goes for representation and the exercise of political
responsibility outside the confines of the Commission.
By way of illustration and subject to the detailed
studies to be presented by the sub-working party set up for this
purpose, which is due to present its conclusions any day now,
the tasks devolved to the Joint Service could include:
the preparation and management of invitations
the drafting of contracts and their administrative
and technical supervision
the preparation of transactions and their
entry in the accounts
the signing of contracts
specific terms of reference
the preparation and administrative and
technical supervision of contracts for evaluation projects and
programmes decided by the DGs
the administrative and financial management
of contracts with external project support staff
supervision and administrative control
of consultancy firms
inspection, auditing and fraud prevention
logistical support for publicity campaigns
the creation and management of databases
on consultants, suppliers, external staff etc.
computer aspects of project and programme
back-up for the organisation of meetings
at the request of the external relations DGs
the horizontal tasks necessary to the
working of any administrative body.
2. Human resources
Officials and external staff will be transferred
to the service from DGs I, IA, IB, VIII and ECHO (headquarters).
Staffing will be at the level necessary for the proper performance
of the tasks to be transferred to the Joint Service.
Officials of the Joint Service will be subject
to the same rules as staff of the external relations DGs as regards
the obligation to serve abroad and rotation.
3. Functioning of the Joint Service
The Joint Service is to be headed by an official
appointed by the Commission on a proposal from Mr Liikanen approved
by the other Members of the Commission concerned.
The Head of the Service will be responsible
for managing the Joint Service under the supervision of the Directorates-General
concerned and in line with decisions adopted in their spheres
of competence. He will work within the framework of an organisation
chart drawn up according to the procedures in force on the basis
of posts redeployed from the Directorates-General concerned.
The Joint Service will be supervised by a Management
Committee comprising the Directors-General of DGs I, IA, IB, VIII
and the Head of the Joint Service. The Committee will be chaired
for a period of two years by a member to be appointed by common
accord. The Director of ECHO is also a member of the Management
The Committee, which will give the direction
necessary for the Joint Service to work properly, will meet regularly
and whenever its chairman, a member or the Head of the Joint Service
believes it necessary.
The Committee will be responsible for:
establishing the Joint Service's overall
adopting the Joint Service's annual work
programme and the annual report on the execution thereof;
arbitrating on questions of mutual interest
in disputes between the Joint Service and one or more Directorates-General.
Responsibilities of the Head of the Joint Service
The Head of the Joint Service will have the
powers invested in a Director-General or Head of Service in the
matter of AIPN (appointment of official, promotions etc.) and
AHCC (authorisation to conclude contracts and other acts relating
to other staff).
Subject to the detailed studies to be presented
by the sub-working party set up for this purpose, which is scheduled
to present its conclusions on 15 October, the Head of the Joint
Service will be responsible for preparing transactions and entering
them in the accounts. He will manage and exercise subdelegated
authorising powers, with the external relations DGs retaining
delegated authorising powers for the commitment of expenditure.
4. Draft Decision
The Commission is invited to adopt the following
A Joint Service is set up with effect
from 15 April 1998
to manage Community aid to non-member countries.
The service will:
fulfil the role described in this
memorandum and implementing procedures adopted by the Commission
according to the usual procedures;
draw its staff from the external
relations Directorate-General; in coordination with the Secretariat-General,
DG IX, DG XIX and the external relations Directorates-General,
the Inspectorate-General will carry out a screening exercise as
soon as possible to identify, with due regard for the responsibilities
of the geographical Directorates-General concerned, the posts,
personnel and other administrative resources to be transferred
for the proper implementation of the tasks assigned to it. A steering
committee will be set up at this time.
The Joint Service's organisation chart will
be adopted according to the rules in force, taking account of
the recommendations to be made by the sub-working parties. The
organisation charts of the external relations Directorates-General
will be altered accordingly.
106 The Joint Service came into operation in September