EBA and its “double independence”

How does EBA pursue its work on a daily basis? Well, we first try to find the most important questions to study, and then decide on who should get the assignment of writing reports on these issues. Some of the ideas come from the expert group and others from the secretariat. Still other ideas can come from external sources, such as people we meet at seminars and meetings, or others who contacted us with suggestions on what we should analyse.

Sometimes one of the secretariat managers write the study of the issue in question, but normally an external person, for example a researcher in Sweden or abroad who have specialist knowledge in the area in question, will be assigned to write a report to the EBA.

In essence, this constitutes a working method which has been successfully used elsewhere, such as at the Expert Group for Studies in Public Finance, ESO, and which has come to be known as “double independence”. That is, firstly EBA is independent from its client and funding body, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. And secondly the individual author is independent also from EBA.

What does this mean? Well, it means that the author is as free to express conclusions and recommendations that not EBA as a whole concurs with, as EBA is free to express views that the government does not share. A prerequisite for EBA to publish the study is nevertheless that the material that the author has produced holds a very high quality, both from a scientific point of view and with respect to its content.