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European Training Foundation (ETF)

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European Training Foundation (ETF)

The European Training Foundation (ETF) works within the context of the European Union (EU) external relations policies, aiming to assist non-EU countries in improving their human capital development. It thus seeks to encourage access to lifelong learning and the development of skills and competences.


Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 establishing a European Training Foundation (recast)


This regulation establishes the European Training Foundation (ETF), repealing Regulation (EEC) No 1360/90, which originally created it. The foundation operates within the European Union (EU) external relations policy sphere, aiming to promote the development of vocational education and training systems in the following partner countries:

the EU candidate countries (Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia);

the potential candidate countries in the western Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo);

the southern Mediterranean, eastern European and southern Caucasus partner countries (Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Russia, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine);

other countries, as decided by the ETF governing board on the basis of specific criteria.

The foundation provides assistance to these countries in improving the skills and competences of their citizens. This consists of participating in the reform process to develop initial and continuing vocational education and training, as well as to facilitate access thereto. The ETF also assists in promoting mobility, cooperation between educational institutions and businesses, as well as exchanges of experience and information between EU countries.

In promoting the development of vocational education and training systems in the partner countries, the foundation’s functions consist more specifically of:

providing information, policy analysis and advice on human capital development;

improving knowledge of labour market skills needs;

providing support in capacity building;

promoting exchanges of information and experience among donors as well as partner countries and the EU;

supporting the delivery of EU assistance and analysing the effectiveness thereof (if required by the Commission).

In pursuing its functions, the foundation is to collaborate with other relevant EU bodies, in particular with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), as well as with representatives of European social partners and relevant international organisations where appropriate.

The ETF is a non-profit making foundation that has legal personality. It is based in Turin, Italy.


The ETF governing board consists of one representative from each EU country, 3 representatives of the Commission, 3 experts appointed by the European Parliament and 3 representatives of the partner countries appointed by the Commission. Only the EU country and Commission representatives have a voting right, 1 vote each for the former and 1 shared for the latter. 1 of the Commission representatives chairs the board, convening it at least once a year. The term of office of the board is five years, renewable once.

The governing board is responsible for drawing up the annual estimate of expenditure and revenue as well as for adopting the annual work programme, draft establishment plan, definitive budget, annual activity report, rules of procedure and financial rules. It has the power to appoint and dismiss the director, as well as to prolong his/her term of office.

The director is appointed from a list of candidates put forward by the Commission for a term of 5 years. The term may be extended once for a maximum of 3 years. The director is the legal representative of the foundation and responsible for its administrative management. S/he is also responsible for preparing and organising the work of the governing board as well as for implementing its decisions. In addition, the director is to implement the annual work programme and the budget of the foundation.

The finances of the ETF consist principally of a subsidy from the EU's general budget and of payments received for services rendered. The final accounts of the foundation, the annual activity reports and the rules of procedure are to be made public.


Since its adoption, Regulation (EEC) No 1360/90 that established the ETF has been amended on several occasions. In light of additional amendments and for reasons of clarity, the regulation was repealed and replaced by Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1339/2008



OJ L 354, 31.12.2008, pp. 82-93

last update 10.09.2015