25 years of TAIEX
The Technical Assistance and Information Exchange instrument (TAIEX) funded by the European Union celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. In Finland, the milestone was marked by a publication and a seminar.
TAIEX was initially set up in 1996 to provide short-term technical expert assistance to support the then candidate countries from Central and Eastern Europe in their alignment with the EU’s internal market. Since then, the instrument has expanded both thematically and geographically, and is today a global development programme bringing together public administration experts around the world. According to the European Commission’s statistics, more than 40,000 experts have participated in TAIEX activities since 1996, and more than 26,000 events have already been organised.
TAIEX from different perspectives
The national 25th anniversary event was held virtually on 25 November. The event attracted a large number of participants, and included speeches by representatives from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Commission and Finnish TAIEX stakeholders.
The opening words at the jubilee seminar were delivered by Matti Anttonen, Permanent State Secretary at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, who stated that TAIEX has over the years been a concrete instrument for Finland to be globally influential. The greetings from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations were conveyed by Francisco López-Menchero, Acting Head of Unit. López-Menchero thanked Finland for its active participation in TAIEX, especially in recent years. After that, Eerikki Vainio, who is the National Contact Point for TAIEX coordination at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, told about Finland’s participation in TAIEX in 1996–2021.
The views of those participating in the instrument in different ways were also heard at the event. Three speeches examined TAIEX from a slightly different perspective. First, Ritva Suurnäkki, Director of Legal Affairs from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom explained, based on her experiences, how the activities are seen from the perspective of an expert. The second speaker, Helena Ewalds, Head of Unit from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare examined TAIEX from the perspective of an organisation.
In the third speech, Marjut Akola, Ambassador of Finland to Romania and Moldova, focused on TAIEX from the perspective of a Finnish mission.
The speeches emphasised, among other things, the significance of interaction in meetings, the importance of listening to the needs of the beneficiary administration, and the key role of expertise and experts in the activities.
The event ended with a video greeting by Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen.
More permanent visibility for activities through a publication
The TAIEX anniversary publication 25 Years of Cooperation with Experts: TAIEX Instrument of the European Union and Finland was published a few days before the event. The publication examines the development of TAIEX from the initial stages to the present day and, in this respect, serves as a basic information package on TAIEX.
In addition to presenting the instrument, the publication gives an overview of Finland’s participation in TAIEX activities, focusing on the number of participants and the various geographical and thematic activities. The publication also contains short comments from Finnish experts and organisations involved in TAIEX. The comments indicate that participation in TAIEX has been considered useful in Finland and that the benefits gained from participation are widely recognised.
“This publication is intended for anyone interested in TAIEX activities. It not only examines Finland’s activities, but hopefully also encourages new actors to take part in TAIEX. In this publication we wanted to draw attention to how our experts have experienced their participation. This offers a peer perspective to those considering participation,” Eerikki Vainio summarises.
The National Contact Point (2019–2021)
Eerikki Vainio, Specialist