(Source: European Commission)
What is the Technical Support Instrument?
The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) is the Commission’s instrument to provide technical support to reforms in EU Member States, following requests by national authorities.
TSI is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 and of the Recovery Plan for Europe. It promotes the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion by supporting Member States’ efforts to implement the necessary reforms. The TSI builds on the success of its predecessor, the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). Through the SRSP, the Commission has, since 2017, provided technical support to all 27 Member States with more than 1,400 projects in a broad range of policy areas.
How large is the TSI budget and how much funding does each Member State receive?
While the SRSP operated with a budget of €222.8 million for the period of 2017-2020, TSI has an increased budget and an extended duration that matches the duration of the MFF (€864 million for 7 years, ca. €115 million per year).
For 2022, TSI has a total budget of €116.8 million.
The Commission does not provide direct funding to Member States. Rather, it provides expertise to Member States who then are responsible to carry out the reforms. The TSI is demand driven, meaning that it follows a request from Member States. The expertise delivered by the Commission does not require national co-funding but the success of the reform support relies on the engagement and ownership of the Member State authorities. In many cases, the support is given as a mix of external support, combined with the Commission’s own expertise (DG REFORM and/or other Commission services) which is deployed specifically for each case in a tailor-made fashion.
Finally, while the Commission provides expertise to support Member States with the design and implementation of reforms, the reforms themselves are not funded by the TSI. These can be funded by national means or other EU funds, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
What kinds of reforms are eligible under the TSI?
The TSI may support a very broad range of potential reforms, proposed by the Member States. Eligible policy areas for reform support include:
– Public financial management, tax policies and revenue administration
– Governance, public administration and rule of law
– Business environment, growth, trade and investments
– Labour market, education and social services, including migration management and integration
– Healthcare, welfare and childcare
– Green and digital policies
– Financial sector and access to finance
– Data and statistics
– Preparation for membership of the euro area
– Public health, security risks, service continuity
Through the TSI, the Commission can also help Member States with the preparation and implementation of their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs), which are necessary to access financing from the RRF.
How can a Member State apply for reform support?
Member States have the possibility to indicate their needs for support until the end of the month of October every year. The Commission analyses the requests and enters into dialogue with the national coordinating authorities to assess the country’s needs and the options to support the reforms. The Commission starts deploying the projects on the ground after the adoption of the annual work programme of the TSI.
How does the reform support work in practice?
The support may cover all stages of reforms, from the initial design and conceptualization phase, until the implementation, change management and evaluation phase. It can take the form of strategic or technical advice, studies assessing reform needs or options in specific areas, training or in-country missions by experts.
The reform support delivered through the TSI:
starts with a request of the Member State. Their ownership and engagement is key for the success of reforms.
is tailor-made to each case and each country. The Commission identifies and analyses the exact need in each situation.
brings to the country a unique combination of expertise. The Commission matches the best mix of expertise to the needs.
is hands-on and concrete in delivery. Upon reception of a request for support, the Commission enters into a dialogue with the Member State to understand the reform need in detail, and how to best deploy the most relevant support in the swiftest possible way.
strengthens the institutional and administrative capacity of an EU Member State to (i) design and implement reforms, (ii) facilitate the green and digital transition, (iii) address challenges identified in the European Semester, or (iv) apply EU law.
Can you give an example of a flagship project?
In line with the objectives of the EU Digital Finance Strategy, in 2022, the TSI will support 20 Member States in strengthening their supervisory capacity in the area of innovative digital finance, fostering the supervisory convergence across financial sector activities. This flagship project ‘EU Supervisory Digital Finance Academy’ includes an online platform to facilitate training programmes and the exchange of best practices for supervisory authorities and Financial Intelligence units in the Member States.
Can you give an example of multi-country project?
The TSI supports 23 Member States to strengthen their capacity for greening public finances with a tailored green budgeting training programme for civil servants working in national public administrations. This project provides tools of budgetary policymaking, case studies and dedicated workshops to help Member States to achieve climate and environmental goals.
Does the TSI support the preparation and implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plans?
The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU to help the EU emerge stronger and more resilient from the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Recovery Plan for Europe, the TSI has been providing support to the Member States for the preparation and implementation of their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) that unlock the potential of the RRF. 57% of the new TSI projects selected in 2022 are related to the implementation of the RRPs
In total so far, 261 TSI projects – including the new 116 projects for 2022 – have been or will be contributing to the preparation or implementation of Member States’ RRPs.
The TSI can:
provide general support for the preparation or implementation of the RRPs
support the implementation of specific reforms and investments included in the RRP.
Can you give an example how the TSI contributes to the just transition?
In 2021, the TSI has supported 18 Member States in preparing their Territorial Just Transition Plans under the Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) The JTM is an integral part of the European Green Deal, providing targeted support to alleviate the socioeconomic impacts of the low-carbon transition.
In 2022, the TSI will support the implementation of the JTM, including by supporting National Promotional Banks. Moreover, the TSI will support regions and sectors that are not covered by the JTM, but that are facing similar challenges.
Can you give an example of how the TSI contributes to the green transition?
In 2022, the TSI will support Member States to design and implement reforms for building renovation, in line with the EU Renovation Wave.
Can you give an example of how the TSI contributes to the digital transition?
The Commission has supported Greece in designing its Digital strategy of the Greek industry. In particular, the Commission provided expertise in the industry and digital sectors to assess the digital maturity of the Greek industry, supported the preparation of a comprehensive strategy ‘Industry 4.0′ and its action plan, and provided capacity building for its implementation.
Can you give an example of how the TSI contributes to the digitalisation of public administrations?
Under the ‘E-Government services flagship projects’ of the TSI call for 2022, Member States submitted 45 requests. The e-Government flagship projects identify the technical support measures needed to facilitate the design and deployment of e-Government services across Europe. The projects will focus on developing and implementing e-governance, data governance and management, smart cities measures, and digital skills for the public sector, also in line with the Single Digital Gateway Regulation.
Can you give examples of how the TSI contributes to migration management, and integration?
The European Commission has supported the Greek Government in establishing an accommodation system for families with children and vulnerable asylum seekers, in collaboration with the UNHCR. The Technical Support Instrument has significantly contributed to improve the reception conditions, services and assistance for asylum seekers’ families hosted in apartment-type accommodation and streamline administrative procedures to ensure access to this support.
The Commission has also supported Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy and Portugal to improve the integration of refugees in local communities and in the labour market.
Can you give an example of how the TSI supports children at risk of poverty and social exclusion?
Under the ‘Child Guarantee Flagship’, in 2022, the TSI will continue supporting Member States with the implementation of the European Child Guarantee. So far, eight countries are benefitting from TSI support under this flagship. Key policy areas are: inclusive education; policy coordination, monitoring and evaluation of child and youth policies; de-institutionalisation and promotion of substitute care; early childhood education and care; health promotion and disease prevention. In addition, the Commission has been working with four Member States on reforms aiming to make the education system more inclusive, by improving access to education for children of migrants, children with disabilities and children from vulnerable backgrounds.
Can you give an example of TSI support on cybersecurity?
In 2021, the TSI has supported Member States in strengthening cybersecurity, for example by raising cybersecurity awareness, improving the cybersecurity procedures and tools, and strengthening the capacity of the beneficiaries to prevent and deal with cybersecurity threats. In 2022, the TSI will continue providing support for development of instruments to reduce cybersecurity risks and to enhance cybersecurity education.
Can you give an example of how the TSI contributes to implement the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025?
In 2021, the TSI started supporting Czechia in designing gender-inclusive approaches to public policies and its planning to implement the Czech Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2030. This is also in line with the targeted goals of the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025. By integrating a gender perspective to public policies, this reform will contribute to promote equality and fight discrimination.
Can you give an example of how the TSI contributes to modernise the public administration?
The TSI has supported the Supreme Court of Cyprus in modernising the civil procedure rules. The implementation of the new rules will contribute to a fairer, more efficient justice system. This will serve to strengthen the rule of law, speed up justice, and ensure favourable investment conditions and sustainability of growth.