luni, 4 decembrie 2023

The evolution of our European public servants

We often discuss about the decision-making system and whether the EU is ready for an enlargement to 30+ countries, but this discussion only takes place at a political level. The European public servant plays an very important role in this process, but there are not many who openly discuss their evolution.


It is already well-known that we have a special segment of public servants who work within the various institutions and agencies of the EU, contributing to the functioning and development of the Union. They can be citizens of any EU Member State and are employed in various capacities within the EU institutions, playing a crucial role in policymaking, law implementation and administration. These public servants are usually recruited through competitive examinations and selection procedures, ensuring a high level of expertise and professionalism.


In the context of European institutions, especially when we look at high-ranking officials and bureaucrats, some individuals could be perceived as being in a "golden cage". Although they have prestigious positions, job security and attractive benefits, there could be constraints such as strict regulations, bureaucracy or limitations on personal freedom, which can sometimes lead to a feeling of being confined within the system.


At the level of the European Union, a mobility program exists between the national and the European structure. A national expert seconded to the European institutions results in having a professional who is temporarily appointed or seconded from the national administration to work within one of the institutions or agencies of the European Union. This arrangement allows Member States to contribute their expertise to EU activities and initiatives, while promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing between the EU and its member countries.


A much-debated concept, since the accession negotiations, has been linked to the administrative capacity of European countries to implement European policies. Of course, this can vary significantly from country to country. A Member State's ability to effectively implement EU policies depends on various factors, including the country's institutional framework, administrative efficiency, legal systems, financial resources and political will.


A more exciting topic is the connection between the European official and their country of origin. There is an enormous potential to ensure possible mobility from the European level to the national administration with substantial benefits at the individual level, but also for the entire European construction. In fact, these schemes operate ad hoc, especially at the level of the EU Presidency of some member countries. To give an example, in the first semester of 2019, Romania held the EU Presidency for the first time. Several dozen European officials were seconded in priority areas identified by the national administration in order to achieve a better fluidity of the decided agenda. Of course, European officials have the obligation to remain independent from their Member States, but all national administrations keep in touch with those who can from the European administration. Understanding as well as possible the priorities and possible difficulties, but also looking at possible solutions together is useful for both national as well as European public servants. The cooperation from those coming from the European institutions is essential in order to facilitate institutional communication, especially in case of emergencies or to clarify some differences in approach.


To conclude we can see that there is now a giant potential to launch a permanent program of mobility schemes for officials from the European structure to be seconded in national administrations. Obviously, we could expand their presence even to the ministries in the EU capitals. This will certainly lead to a better understanding of the integration processes, but it will also offer concrete possibilities for Europeans to directly help the countries they originated from.


Dan LUCA / Brussels

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