Thursday, 20 November 2008

The FEST project took NGOs to Brussels

From the 8th-10th of October, 25 persons from Estonian, Finnish and Swedish NGOs had the opportunity to visit Brussels and meet some of the numerous actors in the EU development policy process.

This study visit was the last one out of the 3 study trips organised by the „FEST“ project – an EU-funded co-operation initiative between Finland, Estonia and Sweden, designed to build the development NGOs’ capacity to participate in the formulation and implementation of EU development policies.

During three days, Nordic NGOs met with the EU institutions (the European Parliament and the Commission) and selected European NGOs (Concord Europe, Eurostep, EEPA), as well as the countries’ permanent representations in Brussels. In addition to more general overviews of how the policy process works, some of the meetings had a specific focus on the upcoming EP elections and the EU’s work on policy coherence for development.

As in previous years, the participants considered most valuable the meetings with their Permanent Representations and deputies in the European Parliament. Out of the numerous meetings with the EU institutions, the presentation by Anna Caprile from the European Parliament Development Committee was especially appreciated for its informativeness and objectivity.

The participants also valued the opportunity to meet their colleagues from other FEST countries – a majority of the participants found the trip to have been an important networking possibility. Now just 4 months away from its end, the study trip was the last bigger international event in the 3-year history of FEST. Networking between the three countries will still be continued via the project’s cross-border mentoring programme.

Information provided by Maarja Toots, FEST co-ordinator in Estonia

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