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 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 is expressed constantly. By implementing mutual learning activities in the BB countries the European Centre provides an answer 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 program 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 fine-tuned with the ministries and actors in the partner countries. Consequently, the following actions are implemented and methods applied:

1. Peer Reviews: Four peer reviews are carried out (three virtually and one on-site). 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.

2. Trainings: Two trainings are carried out virtually. These enable participatory learning on a specific topic in a partner country.

3. Hands-on pilot: One applied pilot project is developed that builds on the results of the peer reviews and training sessions and provides the specific state with detailed recommendations for action as part of a strategy implementation plan or action plan.

Finally, the project will be monitored and evaluated.


1. Implementation of 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:

BB Peer review in social welfare: The integrated policy approach applied for vulnerable groups of society with the Active Inclusion Integration Platform (AIIP) of the Republic of Kosovo (21-22 June 2022)

BB Peer review in social welfare: The design of the social assistance benefit in Moldova: Improving targeting and supporting employment (6-7 September 2022)

BB Policy review in social welfare: Monitoring and Evaluation for Social Protection Programmes (12-13 December 2022)


2. Implementation of 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.

Training for the Ministry of Social Policy Ukraine (15-16 December 2021): Ageing and long-term care

Training for the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy North Macedonia (7-8 June 2022): Financing social services


3. Development of one hands-on pilot: These are based on reform needs and project ideas that are identified in the peer reviews and trainings in a participatory and needs-oriented manner. With the support of the European Centre, an action plan or implementation concept is developed for one country. The hands-on pilot is 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

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