SERN Organization

SERN structure

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SERN is the main transnational network in Europe fostering relations in a multilvel perspective between Northern and Southern Europe and in particular between Sweden and Italy.

SERN has three main specificities that make it a unique example of transnational cooperation:
1) It is the only bilateral network in the European Union that brings together actors from the Northern and Southern part of the Union.
2) It is a multilevel network where different levels of government interact and collaborate
3) It is a network open to civil society and to private actors

Legally the network is a non-profit transnational association and has its official seat in Bologna (Italy). The statute of the association approved in 2005 and last modified in April 2009 sets out the institutional structure of the organisation.

The collaboration processes within the network can be of different types:
• Exchanges of information, experience, knowledge, best practices, staff exchanges, learning partnerships.
• Development of projects financed by its members
• Development of projects financed by external funds such as national and/or EU funding
• Fostering economic links

The network consists of a General Assembly meeting every year and electing for a two-year-period an Executive Board which has the task to take the main startegic decisions about the Network. The Board elects a Chair and Vice Chair. The Board appoints the Network Coordinator who is also the Director of the Secretariat.


Project cycle management

The development of new projects/paths of collaboration within the network is a strategic process of collaboration between a number of members on a specific theme. The project cycle management model consists of several phases in a specific order.

PHASE 1 – Indicative programming
A project proposal is submitted by one or more members through the e-platform or through the Secretariat. The Secretariat can provide support in structuring the initial project idea.

PHASE 2 – Identification
If the proposal collects the interest of at least another member, it is subsequently discussed in the context of an identification meeting which can take place at the General Assembly of the network or, alternatively, in the context of a project event or a dedicated meeting. The proposal is finalized at least in terms of common problems/needs addressed, project objective(s) and target groups. If the project partners are identified, they could also be invited to the meeting. Once established, each project group shall identify a contact person both in Sweden and Italy. The contact persons plan and lead the activities. One of the organizations to which the coordinators belong shall be appointed as the lead partner in case of an application at EU level. Where translation support is needed for the work, it should be provided by the participants' own organizations (e.g. by international relations officers, SERN contact persons).

PHASE 3–4 Formulation and Financing
In these phases project partners from other countries are identified. The project budget and other aspects are then defined according to the specification of the EU programme it will be submitted to. The Secretariat will not be involved in the formulation unless there is a specific request from the members of the network that it be among the partners.

PHASE 5 – Implementation
The members are responsible for the implementation of the project. The Secretariat will monitor the implementation but it will not take on the responsibility of any management task directly unless there are specific requests from the partners. The Secretariat will contribute to dissemination and valorization of the results of the project.
PHASE 6 – Evaluation and Valorization
The members shall evaluate the process throughout the implementation phase and take measures to adjust the process if needed. The activity of the network is generally inspired by the approach of quality management.

The Secretariat


The SERN Secretariat is responsible for manging the network from a strategic point of view.
It supports the other organs of the network in carrying out their functions.It supports members
in the early stage of development of new collaboration activities (EU projects mainly) and manages
strategic projects in which the network as an organisation is involved.
The Secretariat administers the association financially. The network coordinator and director of
the Secretariat is Nicola Catellani who has the task of leading the strategic development of the
network as a whole.

The Executive Board

The members are political representatives of the local and regional authorities belonging to the Network.
The Executive Board implements the strategic guidelines approved by the General Assembly.
In particular, it shall be within the competence of the Executive Board to:
1. Formulate and adopt internal regulations of the Network;
2. Formulate and propose the budget of the Network;
3. Appoint a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson among its members who shall not be of the same nationality
and shall be chosen on a rotating basis among the Swedish and the Italian members of the Executive Board.
4. Indicate the priority areas for the Network;
5. Decide upon the location of the Network Secretariat;
6. Prepare annually a final report on the activities carried out in the framework of the Network.
7. Appoint the staff of the Secretariat upon proposal of the Chairperson.

The Chairman of the Board

The Chairperson of the SERN Executive Board is the legal representative of the organisation. It is elected for a two-year mandate
The Chair of the Board between January 2005 and April 2009 has been Kent Ögren of the County Council of Norrbotten (Sweden).
The Chair of the Board between January 2009 and April 2013 has been Roberta Mori of the Province of Reggio Emilia and AICCRE Emilia-Romagna.

Currently the Chairperson is Eva Andersson, Mayor of Norrköping. Ms Andersson was elected in April 2013.
She will be in office until April 2015. The Chairperson has the responsability to lead the General Assembly, when in Session, and to oversee the activities of the Secretariat of the Network.

The Vice Chairperson is Prof. Patrick Leech, the political representative of the Municipality of Forlì.
The two representatives compose the Presidium that meeets in case of urgent decisions need to be taken between the Board meetings.


The General Assembly

The General Assembly is the highest authority of the Network and has power to take decisions concerning all
the activities of the Network. In particular, it is within the competence of the General Assembly to:
1. Decide about the Statute of the Network and the rules of procedure for the General Assembly;
2. Elect the Executive Board for a two-year-period;
3. Decide the membership fees of the Network;
4. Approve the budget and the auditor's report;
5. Elect the Board of Audit for a two-year-period;
6. Approve the strategic guidelines of the Network proposed by the Executive Board;
7. Approve the annual report on the activities of the Network.
The General Assembly is constituted by all the members of the Network. It is to be held at least once a year,
no later than 30 June, either in Sweden or in Italy. The Assembly is chaired by the Chairperson of the Executive Board.