Working with stakeholders

EIGE has established a close relationship and cooperation with relevant EU agencies to ensure synergies, avoid duplication and increase the effectiveness of its work.

EIGE's Cooperation with candidate countries and potential candidates

In 2013, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) was asked to participate in the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). IPA is the financial instrument for the European Union pre-accession process.

The aim of this instrument is to build the capacity of beneficiary countries throughout the accession process in order to enable them to make the necessary political and economic reforms and to prepare them for the obligations that come with EU membership. The beneficiary countries under the current IPA are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey.

The main criteria for EU membership are aligning national legislation with EU “acquis” and ensuring effective administrative structures to implement EU rules. It is therefore in the EU’s interest to involve candidate countries and potential candidates in the work of EU agencies such as EIGE and to provide them with technical assistance.

Consequently, in 2013, EIGE was assigned this task and commenced a project ‘Preparatory Measures for the participation of candidate countries and potential candidates in EIGE’s work’. The main objective of this work is to strengthen the capacity of candidate countries and potential candidates to comply with the EU policies in the field of gender equality.

IPA project

This is EIGE’s first project financed by the IPA instrument. It is a pilot project to establish contacts, assess the needs and expectations of candidate countries and potential candidates, and explore ways of cooperation with EIGE in the future.

Beneficiary countries and main partners in the project

Albania:

  • Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Directorate for IPA fund and European Integration
  • Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination

Montenegro

  • Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Gender Equality Department
  • The Parliament of Montenegro, Gender Equality Committee
  • UNDP Montenegro

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Agency for Gender Equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Serbia

  • Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, Gender Equality Directorate
  • Commissioner for Protection of Equality
  • Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia
  • Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, Office of the Minister for European Integration

the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

  • Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Equal Opportunities Department
  • Secretariat for European Affairs

Turkey

  • Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Directorate General on Status of the Women
  • Ministry for EU Affairs

Kosovo*

  • Agency for Gender Equality
  • Kosovo Agency of Statistics

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence

Objectives of the project with candidate countries and potential candidates

supporting relevant authorities in aligning standards and practices with those applied in the European Union, to promote a harmonised approach in the field of gender equality and gender mainstreaming;
boosting expertise and institutional capacity to properly implement and enforce obligations that will arise from EU policies;
providing officials from state administrations with technical knowledge of the EU gender equality policy; 
including information collected into EIGE’s research projects;
enhancing communication and information sharing between candidate countries and potential candidates, EIGE and the EU Members States.

Main activities

  • Technical meetings to identify in coordination with the beneficiary countries the needs and expectations towards further cooperation with EIGE in the area of gender equality.
  • In-country events on specific subjects identified on the basis of the needs expressed by beneficiary countries.
  • Participation of national experts from candidate countries and potential candidates in specific meetings, conferences and study visits organised by EIGE.

Overview of implementation of EIGE’s first Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funded project

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) implemented its first Instrument for Pre-Accession  Assistance funded project “Preparatory Measures for the participation of candidate countries and potential candidates in EIGE’s work” from start of 2013 to May 2014.

The aim of this project was to enable candidate countries and potential candidates to comply with EU policies in the field of gender equality in this way preparing them to become full-fledged members of the European Union. Many different activities were taking place all over the Europe during the project.

Officials from 7 candidate and potential candidate countries met in Brussels, Istanbul and Vilnius where they had an opportunity to contact their colleagues from the region, share the ideas and future plans. The main goals of these meetings were to boost the cooperation between the accession countries in the gender perspective processes, to build a network of high-level officials from the enlargement countries and to increase the awareness of EIGE’s work in this way strengthening the gender perspective in their accession processes.

Officials from enlargement countries were also visiting EIGE frequently during the year. Chief negotiators for the accession to the EU from Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia had meetings with the Director of the Institute Ms. Virginija Langbakk. During the meetings high-level officials were introduced to EIGE’s work, also future plans regarding the cooperation in the field of gender equality were discussed.

Some events were also taking place in the enlargement countries. For example, International workshop on the implementation of EU criteria on Gender Equality was taking place in Podgorica, Montenegro on 27-28th of November. The aim of this workshop was to foster the EU criteria in the area of gender equality in the process of EU integration.

EIGE received very positive feedback from the participants regarding the events organized. That is why Institute already prepared a proposal for 2014-2015 IPA activities. Future IPA will continue building contacts and relationships with authorities in candidate and potential candidate countries creating a space for discussion and information exchange. More focus will be given to the integration of these countries into EIGE’s databases in this way making the Institute a centralised source of reliable and comparable data and information on gender equality.

Events organised by EIGE

In June 2013 EIGE organised the first meeting with officials from candidate countries and potential candidates (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) and Croatia in Brussels. Officials from national gender equality bodies, the commission for protection from discrimination and the national statistics offices expressed their interest to cooperate with EIGE in gender equality projects or activities in their countries. In particular, they stressed the need to cooperate in the area of combating gender-based violence, the Gender Equality Index and women’s economic and political empowerment.

Officials participated also in the Launch Conference of the Gender Equality Index that provides results for 27 Member States (excluding Croatia) and is a measure of how far (or close) each Member State was from achieving gender equality in 2010. Officials from candidate countries and potential candidates found the Gender Equality Index an extremely useful tool. There was an interest to develop the index for candidate countries and potential candidates. EIGE will share its knowledge and expertise and provide training for relevant individuals and institutions willing to use EIGE’s methodology for developing a Gender Equality Index in their national context.

Experts from candidate countries and potential candidates have been invited to participate in several events organised by EIGE so as to facilitate the ‘learning by doing’ process not only with EIGE but also with other EU Member States:

2013

Experts’ Forum Meeting (30 September 2013 in Vilnius),
Opening of the Resource and Documentation Centre (1 October 2013 in Vilnius)
Conference on Eliminating Violence Against Women in Europe (25 -26 November 2013 in Vienna)
From Practices with Potential to Good Practices on Female Entrepreneurship - Consultation meeting (27-28 February 2014 in Athens)
3rd Meeting of Officials from Enlargement Countries (18 March 2013 in Vilnius)
Consultation meeting on GBV data collection: administrative data sources and future needs for data collection (19-20 March in Vilnius)

2014

Seminar "Promoting Effective and Sustainable Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Gender Equality: Situation and Good Practice in Eastern Partnership, IPA, and EU-28 Countries" (2-3 December 2014 in Vilnius
Joint-in country events

2013

6 November - 2nd meeting of officials from candidate countries and potential candidates, Istanbul, Turkey
7-8 November – International high-level meeting “Progress in Women’s Human Rights in the 3rd Year of the Istanbul Convention” 6-8.11.2013 Istanbu
27-28 November - International Conference “International workshop on the implementation of EU criteria on gender equality“, Podgorica, Montenegro

2014

13-14 October - Experts training to produce a Gender Equality Index for Serbia, in Belgrade

2015

4-5 May- Experts training to produce a Gender Equality Index for Kosovo, in Priština
Officials from candidate countries and potential candidates visit EIGE

The aim of these visits is to provide knowledge and increase awareness of EU gender equality policies. This will in turn strengthen the integration of a gender perspective into accession strategies and programmes. It will also support discussion on collaboration between candidate countries and potential candidates and EIGE.

On 5 June, EIGE met with representatives of judges and prosecutors from Turkey during their study visit regarding the protection of women rights. EIGE presented and discussed its work on the Gender Equality Index, gender training for administration staff, gender-based violence, good practices, men and gender equality and EIGE’s IPA project.

On 29 August, the Director of EIGE Ms Virginija Langbakk received Mr Fatmir Besimi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Director briefly presented the Institute’s mission and current projects. The Minister was most interested in the development of the Gender Equality Index and exploring the ways of including the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in EIGE’s research work.

On 11 September, Mr. Egemen BAĞIŞ, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator of the Republic of Turkey visited EIGE to learn about the Institute’s work and the situation of women and men in the European Union. EIGE also presented its work on gender- based violence, gender stereotypes and data collection – including the Gender Equality Index. Among the topics discussed was the situation in Turkey in relation to gender equality. The Minister stated that “EU standards for gender equality are very important”.

On 12 September, the Director of the Institute Ms Virginija Langbakk received Mr Aleksandar Pejović, the State Secretary and Chief EU negotiator of the Republic of Montenegro. The Director briefly presented EIGE’s mission and activities. Special attention was given to the Gender Equality Index and gender –based violence. The State Secretary briefly presented achievements of the Republic of Montenegro and has stated that the EU integration process is a good opportunity for promoting gender equality in Montenegro.

On 12 September, Ms. Tanja Miščević, the Chief Negotiator for Negotiations on Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union visited EIGE. EIGE’s Director − Ms Virginija Langbakk − presented EIGE’s work and main activities.  During the meeting the officials discussed how to build further cooperation between EIGE and Serbia in the area of gender equality. Since promoting gender equality is one of the national objectives, Ms Miščević stated that it is important that EIGE and its work become more visible in Serbia.

On 18 October, the Director of the Institute Ms Virginija Langbakk received Mr Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council which promotes mutual cooperation and European and Euro-Atlantic integration of South East Europe in order to inspire development in the region to the benefit of its people. After brief presentation of the Council’s and EIGE’s work, the discussion focused on how to build future cooperation between EIGE and the Council as an important stakeholder in the region.

Study visits

30 September 2013 – study visit by the Agency for Gender Equality within the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo

Ms Edona Hajrullahu, Chief Executive Officer of the Kosovo Agency for Gender Equality and Ms Edi Gusia, Head of Reporting and Monitoring visited EIGE to discuss the possibility of developing the Gender Equality Index for their country as they consider the index as a good tool to develop better policies and gender equality strategies at the national level. Ms Jolanta Reingarde, senior researcher and analyst explained in detailed what are the obstacles and possibilities of developing such index at the national level and how EIGE can be involved in its development in Kosovo. Next day they have participated in the Experts Forum Meeting, as an observers and the opening of RDC. 

1 October 2013 – study visit by the Directorate General on the Status of Women within the Ministry of Family and Social Policies of the Republic of Turkey

Turkish representatives of the Directorate General on the Status of Women in the Ministry of Family and Social visited EIGE in order to participate in the Experts Forum meeting, as observers, and in the launch of RDC. The Ministry is developing an online software system on Gender Equality and Women’s Issues in Turkey in order to access all the studies, articles, researches on women’s issues from one online source. Visiting EIGE during the launch of the Resource and Documentation Centre putting together the institutional memory of gender equality work both at the EU and MS level was a good opportunity for them to meet the partners, specialised resource and documentation centres from several MS and to discuss the possibility for long term cooperation with EIGE, to become and RDC partner in the future.

15 October 2013 – study visit by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, within the Office of the Minister for European Integration of the Republic of Serbia

Other activities

EIGE has begun to collect policy documents, “grey literature”, books and other relevant publications on gender equality in candidate countries and potential candidates in the physical library in Vilnius Europe House (visible and accessible to general public) and in EIGE’s online catalogue of digital resources.

Furthermore, relevant stakeholders were invited to join EIGE’s European Network on Gender Equality (EuroGender) and to participate in future online discussions to facilitate dialogue among different stakeholders from candidate countries and potential candidates and EU Member States, enabling them to share information, knowledge, resources and data, to develop joint projects with relevant partners and analyse topics on gender equality.

On 18 October, the Director of the Institute Ms Virginija Langbakk received Mr Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council which promotes mutual cooperation and European and Euro-Atlantic integration of South East Europe in order to inspire development in the region to the benefit of its people. After brief presentation of the Council’s and EIGE’s work, the discussion focused on how to build future cooperation between EIGE and the Council as an important stakeholder in the region.

Informal network of EU Agencies with Pre-Accession and European Neighbourhood Programmes (ENP)

In July 2013, EIGE participated in a meeting of the informal network of EU Agencies working with the Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries. The main objective of the network is to share experiences, lessons learned and good practices between EU agencies’ IPA and ENP project officers and coordinators.

The meeting was hosted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm. During the meeting the agencies exchanged their experiences about their work with IPA projects, discussed perspectives for continuation and future programmes under IPA and shared information on advancement of cooperation with ENP countries.

One of the most important conclusions from this gathering was a decision to continue meeting regularly and that the next event should be organised soon after IPA II enters into force and after new ENP contracts are signed with eligible agencies. The European Food Safety Authority agreed to organise the next meeting in Brussels.