Why are we running this project?
The governments of EU member states face new challenges. Government policy is increasingly defined by European law, and the expanding competencies of the European Union now touch on areas that used to be national fields of policy. At the same time, interior and security policy themes such as migration require cross-border coordination and a shared approach. Acceleration EU integration presents member states with the challenge of developing new forms of cross-border cooperation. This cooperation cannot be established by institutions, but by the people who work in them. To overcome the barriers between national governments and ensure a smooth cooperation between EU member states, senior civil servants must be prepared for an increasingly international working environment.
What are our goals?
The Bellevue Programme aimed at fostering cooperation between public administrative bodies in Europe. It provided young executives from key government authorities across ten EU member states with a 12-month work placement in one of the partner countries. The programme promoted on the one hand the participants’ professional, intercultural and European policy expertise and hence their capacity to assume leadership positions. On the other hand, it intensified cross-border cooperation between ministries, thereby enhancing their European outlook and competence. The Bellevue Programme was deliberately not a bilateral exchange, but a rotating one between member states, in order to support the establishment of a pan-European network among public administrations. The programme is unprecedented in Europe in terms of its duration, intensity and number of participating countries.
How does the project work?
Process and duration
The Bellevue Programme began with an introductory seminar in September. Language courses could be taken in the host country from October to December if these were needed for preparation. The fellows then worked in their host institution for 12 months, from January to December.
The success of the Bellevue year depended on the quality and intensity of their work in the host institution. Fellows had to be treated as regular staff member in line with his or her professional qualifications. The supervisor, together with the fellow, would define the work programme for the entire year, ensuring that both sides benefit from the tasks to be completed by the fellow. The fellows themselves were responsible for establishing a network of contacts in the host institution and for making suggestions regarding projects and working groups they would like to support in line with their professional experience.
In addition to gaining work experience in the host country four seminars were organized during the year to ensure the acquisition of additional professional and methodological training. They also offered participants the opportunity to develop a personal network among each other.
• The Introductory Seminar in Berlin offered an insight into current social and political challenges in Germany through meetings with key decision‑makers. The fellows discussed their plans for the work placement and formulated their own professional and personal goals. They also had the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences with the other fellows of the same programme year. Participants were expected to have a basic knowledge of the structures and functions of the European Union.
• The EU Seminar gave the fellows the opportunity to go to Brussels and Strasbourg or Luxembourg to meet high‑ranking representatives of European institutions and to improve their understanding of the EU. During this 10‑day seminar, they learned about current developments in Europe, familiarized themselves with the political culture of the European Union and understand the role it has in their work, both in their home and in their host country.
• Leadership and team skills are, of course, prerequisites of the fellows’ professional career paths. They were consequently addressed during the Leadership Development Seminar: training in international negotiations, rhetoric and strategic decision‑making enabled fellows to further enhance their skills and acquire new expertise through intensive practical exercises. The seminar lasted one week and took place half way through the programme, in summer. It also provided a good opportunity to check the achievement of goals, plan their objectives for the remaining months and exchange experiences with other fellows.
• The Robert Bosch Stiftung invited the fellows to a Final Seminar at the end of the programme year where they exchange their fresh experiences with the next cohort and got to know another EU partner country and its EU perspective.
Support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung
Bellevue Fellows received a monthly stipend from the Robert Bosch Stiftung to cover expenses related to their moving abroad. Supplements could be paid for accompanying spouses and children upon request. The Stiftung also reimbursed relocation costs and the cost of language courses up to a specified amount. Travel and accommodation costs for seminars and other obligatory events was also covered by the grant.
Where is the project run?
The programme was established in 2004 by the Robert Bosch Stiftung together with the Office of the Federal President in Germany. The following countries participated in the programme: Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. The partner countries’ head of state acted as patrons of the Bellevue Programme. The programme was established in 2004 by the Robert Bosch Stiftung together with the Office of the Federal President in Germany. The following countries participated in the programme: Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. The partner countries’ head of state acted as patrons of the Bellevue Programme.
Who organizes and sponsors the project?
The Robert Bosch Stiftung funded the programme and was responsible for its implementation. The programme ended in December 2017.
The network of fellows is maintained beyond the programme year. Current alumni organize annual alumni meetings, which serve to maintain contact among all Bellevue alumni, across all programme years and countries, and provide former fellows the opportunity for personal and professional exchange.