The CEFG Group is a collaboration between the CFOs and Directors of Finance of the eight Cities of Amsterdam (NL), Barcelona (ES), Bordeaux (FR), Dublin (IE), Hamburg (DE), the City of London (UK), Milan (IT) and Vilnius (LT) accompanied and managed by the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) and its vast network of external experts from both the practitioner and academic side.
This initiative has raised a great level of interest in the European environment and is supported through active participation and official recognition by the European Commission - Eurostat as it coincides with their efforts to formulate the EPSAS and to apply them EU wide.
The uniqueness of this partnership consists in the fact that it is the first time that fiscal and financial management issues are discussed from a cross-border perspective at city level. It is a timely initiative as public sector financial and accounting practices are still highly fragmented within the European Union and even within many of the individual Member States. Thus, this group is considered an ideal place to bring local financial and economic realities and concerns to the attention of the European Commission (Eurostat).
The CEFG Group unites larger European cities that aim towards a different way of doing politics - politics that are committed to quality management, sustainability and liquidity of public sector finances as guarantors of Europe's economic competitiveness, its social policies and thus ultimately the wellbeing of their citizens.
During two years (2016-2017) and over the course of four high-level meetings, the CFOs and financial directors of the eight partner cities will discuss topical issues of local financial and economic management and governance, such as financing infrastructure, financial planning and oversight, budgeting practices and policies and the developments of the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS).
The CEFG Group was initiated by the City of Barcelona (ES) in cooperation with EIPA Barcelona and supported by the European Commission - Eurostat. It was officially launched in June 2014 together with the Cities of Dublin (IE), Hamburg (DE), the City of London (UK), Milan (IT) and Vienna (AT), representing approximately 30 million inhabitants in their metropolitan areas.
This strategic and high-level partnership aimed at to creating a space for mutual learning in the field of economic and financial governance, improving the comparability of financial data among European cities and thus to enhance and advocate for the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of local public sector management. The CFOs and finance managers of the partner cities discussed and analysed in four meetings such burning issues as their budget practices, integrated financial management systems, their financial accounting practices in relation to the European Public Sector Accounting Standards (EPSAS), as well as national and European accounting systems to discuss their effects on economic development and growth.
The final and tangible output of this first phase of the CEFG Group - the Standardised financial report and 10 financial health KPIs for City Governments in Europe - is a unique output as it is the first time in Europe that cities embarked on the challenging undertaking to produce a joint financial balance sheet in view of harmonising their accounting practices and reliably comparing their financial performance.