The Presidency of the Council of the European Union will be held by Estonia in 2018. Therefore it is important to analyse the professional competence of the people in key positions of the presidency during that period. A specific competence model was created which established the areas of responsibility of different officials and politicians crucial during the presidency, as well as the knowledge and skills required to be efficient in those areas. Some of the essential competence areas were negotiation skills, communication and administration, cooperation and networking, and stress-tolerance.
The current knowledge and competence of the officials analysed was generally regarded to be sufficient. The best results were shown by COREPER (Permanent Representatives Committee) ambassadors and field specialists. On the other hand, the research revealed that 42% of the selection had not participated in any kind of in-service or developmental training during the last three years that could enhance their competence in carrying out EU-related tasks.
A suggestion was made during the analysis that the developmental perspectives could be divided according to the 70:20:10 principle, where the greatest stress (70%) would be on improving everyday skills and practice, smaller stress (20%) would be on development through other individuals (e.g. collaborative networks and mentorship) and the smallest (10%) on formal training.
Based on research results and expert opinions, the main developmental needs of Estonian officials were the use of English in working environments and presentation skills. Additionally, a suggestion was made to organize developmental activities by certain target groups (e.g. ministers, COREPER ambassadors, content coordinators).