Frequently asked questions
What is the Technical Support Instrument?
The Technical Support Instrument (TSI) is the Commission's instrument to provide technical support to reforms in EU Member States, following requests by national authorities.
TSI is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 and of the Recovery Plan for Europe. It promotes the EU's economic, social and territorial cohesion by supporting Member States' efforts to implement the necessary reforms. The TSI builds on the success of its predecessor, the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). Through the SRSP, the Commission has, since 2017, provided technical support to all 27 Member States with more than 1,400 projects in a broad range of policy areas.
How large is the TSI budget and how much funding does each Member State receive?
TSI has a budget of €864 million for 7 years, (ca. €115 million per year). The duration matches the duration of the MFF.
For 2023, TSI has a total budget of approximately €119 million.
The Commission does not provide direct funding to Member States. Rather, it provides expertise to Member States who then are responsible to carry out the reforms. The TSI is demand driven, meaning that it follows a request from Member States. The expertise delivered by the Commission does not require national co-funding, but the success of the reform support relies on the engagement and ownership of the Member State authorities. In many cases, the support is given as a mix of external support, combined with the Commission's own expertise (DG REFORM and/or other Commission services) which is deployed specifically for each case in a tailor-made fashion.
Finally, while the Commission provides expertise to support Member States with the design and implementation of reforms, the reforms themselves are not funded by the TSI. These can be funded by national means or other EU funds, such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
What types of reforms are eligible under the TSI?
The TSI provides support for the design, development and implementation of reforms by Member States, undertaken on their own initiative, in a broad range of areas. Support measures focus on one or more of the following areas::
- Public financial management, tax policies and revenue administration
- Governance, public administration and rule of law
- Business environment, growth, trade and investments
- Labour market, education and social services, including migration management and integration
- Healthcare, welfare and childcare
- Green and digital policies
- Financial sector and access to finance
- Data and statistics
- Preparation for membership of the euro area
- Public health, security risks, service continuity
Through the TSI, the Commission can also help Member States with the preparation, implementation, amendment and revision of Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP) under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, including REPowerEU chapters if relevant.
How can a Member State apply for reform support?
Member States have the possibility to submit a request for technical support, identifying the policy areas and the priorities for support by 31 October. The next deadline is 31 October 2022. If a national authority wishes to request reform support under the TSI 2023 annual cycle, the relevant request templates can be found here. The Commission analyses the requests further to a dialogue with the Member States to assess the country's needs and the options to support the reforms. The Commission assesses the request for technical support further to a dialogue with Member States in accordance with the criteria and principles referred to in Article 9 of the TSI Regulation. The Commission starts deploying the projects on the ground after the adoption of the annual work programme of the TSI.
How does the reform support work in practice?
The support can cover all stages of reforms, from the initial design and conceptualization phase, until the implementation, change management and evaluation phase. It can take the form of strategic or technical advice, studies assessing reform needs or options in specific areas, training or in-country missions by experts (Art. 8 of TSI).
The reform support delivered through the TSI:
- starts with a request of the Member State. Their ownership and engagement is key for the success of reforms.
- is tailor-made to each case and each country. The Commission identifies and analyses the exact need in each situation.
- brings to the country a unique combination of expertise. The Commission matches the best mix of expertise to the needs.
- is hands-on and concrete in delivery. The Commission enters into a dialogue with the Member State on the request for support to understand the reform needs in detail, and how to best deploy the most relevant support in the swiftest possible way.
- strengthens the institutional and administrative capacity of a Member State to (i) design and implement reforms, (ii) facilitate the green and digital transition, (iii) address challenges identified in the European Semester, or (iv) apply EU law.
Which criteria does the Commission use to choose technical support requests in the TSI?
The assessment criteria and principles taken into account to assess the requests are defined in Article 9 of the TSI Regulation:
- Urgency, breadth and depth of the challenges identified;
- Support needs in respect of the policy areas concerned;
- Analysis of socioeconomic indicators, as well as institutional and general administrative capacity of the requesting Member State.
- The principles of transparency, equal treatment and sound financial management;
- Prioritisation by the Member State.
Why is the Commission involved in supporting reforms in Member States?
Through the TSI, the Commission is offering a unique service taking the form of provision of expertise related to policy advice, policy change, formulation of strategies and reform roadmaps, as well as to legislative, institutional, structural and administrative reforms. Sometimes the expertise will come from the Commission, sometimes through recognized experts in the area of the support needs. It can also come from other Member States that share their experience of implementing similar reforms.
How did DG REFORM select the flagship technical support projects for TSI 2023?
The flagship technical support projects for TSI 2023 were selected through a multidimensional process that took into account the EU priorities expressed in the main EU policies, the priorities indicated by Member States though their national coordinating authorities and expressed in the national RRPs, and via a sound dialogue with policy departments in the Commission. The list of flagship technical support projects is available here.