Bridge Building Peer Reviews and Trainings

Mutual Learning Activities in BB countries

BB Peer Reviews


As part of its Bridging (BB) Function, the European Centre established collaboration with stakeholders in eleven EU accession countries, potential EU accession countries and Eastern Partnership countries (BB countries). Among other things, the European Centre with the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, signed Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) between respective ministries in the BB countries. Due to the regular exchange between the European Centre and the ministries needs for research-based and policy-relevant knowledge on social policy are expressed constantly. By implementing mutual learning activities in the BB countries, the European Centre provides answers to countries' needs related to the better coping with the health and social consequences of COVID-19 and to fighting poverty, especially for vulnerable groups. The project corresponds to the principles, objectives and priorities of the three-year programme of Austrian development policy from 2019 to 2021.


The project pursues three priority strategic goals, which are (1) topic-related, (2) target group-oriented and (3) focused on structure-changing:

  1. Topic-related goal: Coping with the health and social consequences of COVID-19;
  2. Target group-oriented goal: Improving the social situation of women and girls as well as of vulnerable groups; and
  3. Structure-changing goal: Sustainable strengthening of the social and health systems.


Through a needs assessment at the beginning of the project, the specific topics of the mutual learning activities are constantly fine-tuned with the ministries and actors in the partner countries. Consequently, the following actions were implemented and methods applied:

  • Peer (and Policy) Reviews: Six peer/policy reviews were carried out (online). They promote mutual exchange of experience and knowledge transfer about the situation on the selected topic in the host country and in the respective peer countries.
  • Trainings: Four trainings were carried out (online). These enable participatory learning on a specific topic in a partner country.
  • Hands-on pilot: The pilot project is developed by building on the results of the peer reviews and training sessions and provides detailed recommendations for actions on a selected topic for the BB countries.

The project is also monitored and evaluated.


Six peer reviews from host countries and partner countries: The added value of the peer reviews lies in the mutual exchange and multilateral learning between (potential) EU accession countries, Eastern Partnership countries, and EU / AT experts:

Four trainings from partner countries: Bilateral trainings take place with a partner country, the European Centre and experts with focus given to participatory knowledge transfer. In contrast to the peer reviews, this format deals with specific topics and approaches to solving challenges with participants from one partner country only.

Hands-on pilot: The pilot scrutinized how the partnership principle is being implemented in the Bridge Building (BB) countries of the European Centre. It was an unique attempt to gather insights on corresponding practices applied by BB partners. The report can be downloaded here. With the support of the European Centre, recommendations were drawn for action in the BB countries. The hands-on pilot was implemented to support the sustainability of knowledge transfer beyond the activities in the context of peer reviews and training with the final aim of the implementation of the policies in the context of national strategies.

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research supports the Sustainable Development Goals

European Centre Logo
UN SDG Gender Equality
UN SDG Decent Work and Economic Growth
UN SDG Reduced Inequalities
UN SDG Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


06/2021 – 03/2024