Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Working of the Joint Monitoring Committee

The Joint Monitoring Committee is the highest decision making body in the Programme. The Committee includes members from the regional and national levels from both participating countries (3 regional level and 2 national level members from both Finland and Russia).  On 13th of June the JMC had a meeting in Petrozavodsk,  seventh in all. The discussions in the meeting were constructive and onward directed.

Working of the JMC has developed and changed during these years since the first meeting in March 2009. In the beginning the Programme contended with the problems arising from the delay. This had an influence also to the work of the JMC. First meetings were mostly loaded with the questions concerning the programme management and practicalities – which are important issues as well if you want the programme proceed smoothly.   First meetings also proved that the starting of something new requires always some time – in the case of JMC the work didn’t start from scratch but anyhow it took its time before the things started to advance. Most of the Committee members had already some experience about the Monitoring Committee working in previous programmes but the launching of ENPI CBC Programmes brought new bodies to the table – and also new rules and regulations.

The roles of different bodies were discussed several times: Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), Joint Selection Committee (JSC) , Joint Managing Authority (JMA) , Member state, partner country, European Commission.  Basic structures had been already agreed during the Joint Operational Programme (JOP) preparation but when the step was taken from the theory to practice it was clearly seen that some gaps and overlapping  existed – and the Prag (Practical guide to contract procedures for EU external actions) didn’t help with this work. On the contrary: Prag didn’t recognize the Joint Monitoring Committee or Joint Selection Committee – not to speak about Joint Managing Authority. Prag speaks about contracting authority, which in ENPI CBC context may mean JMC in some case and JMA in other and so on.

And why to talk about all these complex and difficult issues at this moment when the things seem to proceed? My opinion is that it is good to highlight the fact that the JMC managed to solve all the difficult issues in the beginning and had a clear will to go forward with the Programme. Without this strong will the whole structure would have most propably already collapsed and CBC on EU’s external borders would be only a good idea.

Now the picture looks pretty good on JMC’s aspect: in autumn the last project selections shall be confirmed by the JMC and after that the focus shall change: more and more attention will be paid to the outputs and results of projects and different prioritized themes of the Programme. This monitoring work builds up a solid basis for the preparation of future ENI CBC Programme…which is then a subject to a different story!

Marko Ruokangas
Programme Director 

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