Executive Education

European Capitals

The Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), the SciencesPo School of Public Affairs (Paris), the LUISS School of Government (Rome) in cooperation with the Policy Institute at King´s College (London) are introducing an intensive learning experience for public policy and management executives in three European capital cities.

Initiated and supported by leading personalities of administration and academia, this programme offers a deep understanding of policy and management processes in each capital. Comprising three 3 - to 4-day modules in Rome, Berlin snd Paris the programme will contribute to building a network among participants heading for future leadership positions.


The future of the European project seems uncertain due to conflicti´ng roles played by national governments, the European Union, and other transnational bodies. All scenarios at hand, however, have one important feature in common: the increasing interconnectedness of national Administrations, both directly across member states as well as indirectly through the numerous transnational institutions, agencies and organisations in Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and all over Europe.

Curiously, it is also this very aspect of European integration that is often overlooked by existing executive education programmes in public management and policy studies: the growing extent and intensity of cross-border ties between national administrations and branches of government in several member states.

National public administrations need a better understanding on how to move forward within the European multi-level governance architecture. This requires sensitivity towards the models and cultures of different national public administrations in Europe.

If the European project is to grow horizontally rather than hierarchically in terms of governance, public administrations and agencies, member states will increasingly be called upon to create effective cross-border ties at policy and operational levels.

In response to this need, European CAPITALS will provide

  • an inside view into the machineries of government in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy,
  • analyses of frontier policy issues relevant to governments across Europe from national, intergovernmental and supranational points of view, and
  • first-hand insights as well as training and peer-learning opportunities in relation to best practices in leadership and management in European administrations.

European CAPITALS is a high-level executive programme which will contribute to building a network among participants heading for future leadership positions. It is designed for (among others):

  • National civil servants and other government officials who aspire DG-level positions
  • Civil servants from European Institutions who aspire DG-level positions
  • Senior diplomats from EU member states as well as from other countries
  • Executives from private organizations, business associations, and NGOs


The Hertie School (Berlin), Sciences Po Paris, and LUISS (Rome) aim to educate a new generation of policy-makers and public managers by offering a European public policy and management programme called European Capitals. This programme is intended for executives and high potentials who aspire to become effective, outward-oriented and visionary leaders. It is designed to help them learn from other countries’ policy and management experience and to address the main challenges they are facing.

Despite their long-standing participation in the EU and the fact that all are parliamentary democracies, France, Germany and Italy display strong differences as far as the functioning of government is concerned. Participation in EU-level coordination is limited to a thin layer of internationalized civil servants whereas the bulk of government bodies remain immersed in legal, institutional and intellectual contexts that remain deeply national.

Leadership and management processes also differ quite substantially. In consequence, the vast majority of top-level civil servants lack familiarity with the policy conversation and even more with the policy culture of the neighbouring countries. This results in excessive isolation and a lack of cross-country fertilisation, as well as in obstacles to European coordination.

This has become more of a concern recently, as policy preparation and coordination within the EU has become more intergovernmental. European government bodies cannot anymore limit themselves to being knowledgeable on the way “Brussels” and the EU institutions work and they cannot rely solely on initiatives from the EU. Current and future leaders need first-hand experience of how other countries work and modernise.

Government executives therefore need to be prepared for dealing with their counterparts in Paris, Berlin, Rome and other member states.
The programme contributes to building a pan-European network of future leaders by:

  • Sharing the best public management practices and providing evidence-based policy reforms from the participating countries 
  • Focusing on frontier issues and the emerging challenges all public and private organizations have to deal with, but still struggle to address;
  • Building on the skills of the participants to turn the programme into a cross-country management and policy lab.


The three country modules to be held in Paris, Berlin and Rome will offer practical relevance and state-of-the-art curriculum design including

  • Expertise: high quality seminars by academics employing various interactive learning formats;
  • Dialogue: meetings with leading experts from government, business, and civil society;
  • Insights: visits to relevant institutions to gain first-hand insights into their inner workings;
  • Public Events: invitation to take part in public discourses and engage with distinguished speakers;
  • Peer-learning: participants are co-producers of knowledge, co-designers of the process, and co-creators of the outcome.

Given the high degree of interaction among the group, each module will also provide room for
discussion, group work and reflection.
The programme consists of three pillars each of which be assigned one day of training in each capital.

Day 1: Machineries of government: policy formulation and delivery (GOV)

This module is dedicated to introducing key actors, processes and institutions of policy making and political management in the political systems at hand. Sensitivity towards the models and cultures of different national public administrations in Europe will help participants to better understand how to move forward within the European multi-level governance architecture and create effective cross-border ties at policy and operational levels. The module will introduce participants to

  • the machineries of government in Germany, France and Italy respectively regarding national administrations, institutions and actors, and the respective ‚corridors of power‘
  • the respective political systems’ policymaking and political management towards other EU member states (intergovernmental perspective) and the European Union itself (supranational/transnational perspective)
  • modes of interaction within the respective political system including policy preparation and methods of interdepartmental coordination within government, multi-level governance relating to regions and local levels as well as involvement of external actors

Day 2: Policy lab: exploring frontier policy challenges (POL)
Analysis and response to frontier policy issues structure this part of the programme. Participants engage in a deep and intensive dialogue with leading scholars, national experts and players to assess national experiences in dealing with emerging policy issues. The topics chosen for each module will reflect recent political developments. Sample topics that could be addressed include:

  • Responding to the emergence of the Gig Economy: regulatory, social and tax dimensions
  • Social protection in the age of mobility: portability of rights and individualised accounts
  • From centralised to distributed energy systems: implication for infrastructures and regulation
  • Can European financial integration survive Brexit?
  • Adaptive government: how the German bureaucracy responded to the refugees crisis

Day 3: Leadership and management experience (LME)
Executives will be responsible for the performance and health of their organizations in a world characterized by complexity and uncertainty. This requires them becoming inspiring and effective managers and leaders. The programme offers best practices and experience-based learning from national and international administrations as well as public and private sector networks. This includes:

  • Advanced Leadership and Management: Facilitated by experienced session leaders and case studies from both the private and public sector, you will explore and discuss the characteristics of effective top executives and high-performance organizations
  • Strategy: You will learn to set the decision-making agenda and processes in your organisation, and how to turn strategy into action. This module provides the key strategic concepts used by corporate and governmental leaders.


The second edition of the European CAPITALS programme will take place in Paris, Rome and Berlin throughout the year 2019.

Rome: 18-21 September 2019 (incl. modules on UK policy and current challenges)

Berlin: 21-23 November 2019

Paris: 13-15 February 2020

*schedule might be slightly adjusted

The European CAPITALS programme is a one-year, ten-days intensive learning experience taught in Paris, Berlin and Rome by eminent figures from academia, government, public and private organizations. It relies on the active involvement of the participants and builds on the wealth of their skills and experience.

Participants spend three days in each capital, and all three country modules will follow the same pattern:

Day 1: Machineries of Government: policy formulation and delivery (GOV)
Day 2: Policy Lab on frontier policy issues (POL)
Day 3: Management and leadership excellence (LME)



€ 6,900 (excluding travel arrangements)



Academia in charge of the programme includes:

Prof. Dr. Henrik Enderlein (Germany), President, Professor of Political Economy, Hertie School of Governance

Prof. Sergio Fabbrini (Italy), Director of the Luiss School of Government and Professor of Political Science and International Relations at LUISS Guido Carli

Prof. Jean Pisani-Ferry (France), Commissioner-general of France Stratégie, Professor at the Hertie School of Governance, Founding Director of Bruegel

Prof. Dr. Jobst Fiedler (Germany), Senior Fellow in Residence, Convenor, Prof. em. of Public and Financial Management, Hertie School of Governance

Ms. Anne-Marie Idrac (France), Chairperson of the Board, Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, chairperson, Toulouse Airport, former minister, former CEO of SNCF

Prof. Bernardo Mattarella (Italy), Head of Legislative Affairs, Italian Ministry of Public Administration and Professor at LUISS School of Government


For further information regarding the European CAPITALS program please contact:

CAPITALS is supported by the Mercator Foundation.