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UWE to help Bosnia prepare for EU membership

The University of the West of England has been awarded 450,000 euros by the European Union to provide in-depth training for public officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina in Public Administration Reform and European Integration.

The training courses which are part of the European Union's aid programme to assist applicant countries was won by a UWE cross-faculty bid led by the Bristol Business School (BBS), and involving the faculties of Law, Humanities, Language and Social Science (HLSS) as well as the Academic Consultancy Unit (ACU).

UWE will provide a masters degree programme in Management (Public Administration Reform/European Integration) to at least 15 Bosnian public officials who are legal, economic and management experts over the next two and a half years. In addition, up to a hundred places will be provided on three intensive summer school courses and study tours to Brussels. These courses will help the participants understand the political and economic reforms necessary for integration and how to implement them.

Warwick Jones, Dean of the Bristol Business School which is co-ordinating the project, said:

“I am delighted that UWE has been selected for this prestigious EU Education Support Scheme. The programme we are offering draws together UWE expertise in law, management, economics and European issues, with an emphasis on Public Sector Administration Reform and European Integration. Many of the staff involved in delivery have experience of the Balkan region either through consultancy, teaching or research.”

UWE has a strong track record providing tailor-made education and executive programmes for a wide range of organisations in the UK and Europe. UWE staff from BBS, Law, HLSS and the ACU have worked extensively with newly arrived EU members such as the Baltic States, Poland, Malta, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria; other candidate countries such as Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, and former soviet countries including Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine.

Project Manager Penelope Jones from BBS, who is also the Director of Postgraduate Management Programmes at Bristol Business School said:

“We will be helping the public administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina gain an understanding of the obligations it will take on at membership, in terms of legal background, regulations, and economics – in other words, how the single market actually works. This will involve changing administrative structures, procedures and technical tools such as customs unions and VAT, so that all operating and business norms are aligned with the EU.”

Balkan states are at various stages of readiness for EU membership. Bulgaria and Romania will join the EU on 1 January 2007 with some conditions following the decision published by the Commission on the 26 September 2006. Macedonia gained candidate country status in December 2005 and accession negotiations opened with Croatia in October 2005. Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with Serbia, Montenegro and Albania, are in the process of applying for membership. They are undertaking a process known as Stabilisation and Association designed to help countries of the Western Balkans work towards bringing operating and business norms in line with the EU.

Lesley Drake | alfa
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