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Travel-Nature

Published on March 13, 2008

Author: Jancis

Source: authorstream.com

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Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Governmental Reform in Europe: Unfinished Agendas, Ongoing Processes, Disputable Outcomes Professor Dr. Joachim Jens Hesse International Institute for Comparative Government and European Policy (ISE), Berlin Seoul, 13–14 October 2006 Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Contents 1. The context: multiple challenges within the European Union and its Member States 2. Governmental reform: past and present experiences 3. The reform agenda: a critical reassessment Professionalising Europe: ways and means to overcome the current crisis at EU-level The case of Germany: a late modernisation process Summary Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The context (I): multiple challenges within the European Union and its Member States Context structures for the European nation states Socio-economic: ongoing economic structural change, growing competitive pressures, deficient labour markets, Europeanisation/ internationalisation Socio-cultural: growing social disparities, revival of religious/ethnic/ cultural cleavages, stress on the social security systems Demographic: aging population, territorial disparities, lacking infrastructural adaptation Transnational: competitive pressures, “global player”-ideologies and attitudes, security considerations Europeanisation: asymmetric impact within the Member States and the European Union itself Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The context (II) Institutional setting: Various forms of constitutional and organisational arrangements (federal vs. unitary, parliamentary vs. semi-presidential systems, representative vs. direct democratic) Heterogeneous state traditions and administrative cultures Highly horizontally and vertically differentiated public administration systems Procedural reorientations: Increasing demands for a more differentiated “state activity”; agreeing on a “core” Adjusting policy formulation and implementation to the highly dispersed intermediary setting (parties, interest groups, media) Decline of traditional catch-all parties (Volksparteien); modest revival of populist/ extremist forces Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The context (III) Options for public sector/public administration reform: Structural and functional modernisation of public administration Pressures for enhanced administrative efficiency and effectiveness due to growing budgetary squeeze Need for enhanced political and administrative cooperation to avoid inertia and blockage Ongoing instrumental (simplification) and procedural (de-regulation) adaptation in often over-complex institutional configurations (federal and unitary state systems) Questioning privatisation, fostering public-private partnerships Overcoming vertical and horizontal imbalances (multi-layered legislative, executive, and judicial systems) Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The context (IV): a summary Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Governmental reform: past experience National level: Mostly isolated attempts at coping with profoundly altered context structures Implicit/unreflected “path dependency” (Westminster model, Napoleonic state tradition, Basic Law-understanding of Rechts- und Sozialstaat) Supranational level: Progress via the méthode Monnet; solutions based on the “lowest common denominator”; hypothesised consensus of the “Peoples of Europe” EU Commission and European Court as “motors of integration” in the shadow of public attention; danger of technocratic policy formulation and implementation Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Governmental reform: present situation National level: Various attempts at improving governmental performance due to an ever changing environment and attempts at budgetary consolidation Privatisation, de-regulation and promoting managerial capacities as almost “standard” approaches Supranational level: Reform impasse due to the heterogeneous self-interests of 25/27 Member States Several initiatives by the Commission to regain the leadership within and for the integration process (White Paper “European Governance”, Lisbon Agenda, etc.) Attempts at creating workable intergouvernmental arrangements (EU, Member States, regional governments, localities) Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The reform agenda: a critical reassessment “Learning by doing” still the dominant mode in many political and administrative contexts (as a result: dated policies, sub-optimal outcomes, waste of time and resources) Overestimation of models: danger of running “issue cycles” (global governance, NPM, best practise); strong ideological undertones, ubiquitous marketing (“one size fits all”); governance-debate as an example for unproductive catch-all categories Neglecting context structures: significance of historical legacies; constitutional traditions; national, regional, even local specifics Growing coordination deficits: need for enhanced political and administrative cooperation to avoid inertia and blockage, while at the same time limits to joint-policy-making (Politikverflechtungs-Falle) Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Professionalising Europe: ways and means to overcome the current crisis at EU-level Elements of the crisis: Tendencies to territorially overstretch the Union (unresolved finalité-question) Accumulated overload of the supranational agenda (institutional setting, policies, implementation) Obvious functional deficiencies of EU-governance: imperfect internal market, asymmetries within EMU, “announcements policies” without implementation Growing disenchantment with integration process, erosion of elite consensus Perseverance of the democratic deficit (questionable balance of powers, bureaucratisation, decreasing turnouts in European elections), shrinking legitimacy of EU institutions Currently: rejection of the “European Constitution” (by referenda in France and the Netherlands) Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Professionalising Europe (II) Need for differentiated responses to complex problems: Farewell to approaches at further “widening” (territorially) Re-launch of a slimmed version of the “European Constitution” (as “framework and programme”, excluding Part III) Revision of the vertical order of competencies based on normative and functional demands: towards a clear “division of labour” between the EU and its Member States Modernising the institutional interplay; functional reform instead of “new modes of governance” Europeanising national institutions via executive coordination and parliamentary participation in EU affairs Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The case of Germany: a late modernisation process Key characteristics of the FRG’s governmental system since 1949: Separation of the legislative and administrative powers between central, regional (Länder) and local levels Procedural integration of the three levels in decision-making, programme formulation and implementation (“co-operate federalism”) Free-market economy combined with strong emphasis on consensual decision-making between employers, employees and the State (“liberal corporatism”) Highly centralised social organisations (party system, interest groups) Absence of large-scale regional disparities, social conflicts and ethnic cleavages Gradual institutional change and adaptation Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The case of Germany (II) The double challenge of unification and Europeanisation: stability turned rigidity After unification (1989): enormous financial commitments by Bund and Länder to “rebuild the East” Increased pressures on the “conservative welfare state” (labour-centred systems of social security) Evident functional deficits of interlocked federalism (Politikverflechtung) due to diverging interests (both between Bund and Länder and within the Länder group) Inflexibility of the “compounded” financial constitution; no incentives for income- and expenditure-oriented competition among the Länder Demands for German (co-)leadership in European and world politics Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The case of Germany (III) Reform approaches since the late 1990s: Various attempts at recasting the welfare state: introduction of an (voluntary) individual pillar into the pension system; reorganisation of labour market policies (cutting into the unemployment benefits); various policies to increase the efficiency within the health sector Attempts at disentangling the federal order (“Entflechtung”) Structural and functional reforms of public administration at the regional level (Länder) to avoid a further budgetary crisis Substantial reforms at the local level (attempts at managerial reform, cost-conscious budgeting and broad attempts at privatisation) Adjusting executive coordination in EU affairs within the federal government as well as between Bund and Länder Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The case of Germany (IV) Preliminary balance: appropriate targets, ambivalent outcomes Overcoming dysfunctional competition between the different levels of government via a simplified system of interaction Modernising cooperative federalism: only “cosmetic” disentanglement of the interlocked governmental system; financial constitution as bottleneck of intergouvernmental relations so far unchanged Public sector/public administration reform: promising attempts at Länder and local levels, while the Bund (federal level) has remained largely inactive Improving EU policy-making: perseverance of a “dispersed” coordination system (despite moderate formal changes) Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe The case of Germany (V) Agenda for the years to come Growing adaptation towards the Europeanisation process (institutional adaptation, compulsory tendering, limitation to entrepreneurial activities by public actors, adaptation towards EU-rules and regulations) Redrafting intergovernmental relations in reaction to internal frictions and external demands Balanced approaches at liberalisation, privatisation and (de-/re-) regulation Overcoming the public-private dichotomy Experimenting with legal and organisational innovations (to allow for time- and resource-saving policies) Saving the bonum commune by institutional decentralisation and participatory policy-making Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Summary Despite attempts of International Organisations to induce a structured and sustained exchange, “learning by doing” seems to prevail as the dominant mode in many European administrative contexts, leading to dated policies, sub-optimal outcomes, and a waste of time and resources. “Learning by experience” ought to be preferred, as long as a number of preconditions are being met: openness, flexibility, and the understanding of different, not least cultural contexts. Historical legacies, traditions, national, regional, even local specifics matter (and are to be taken into account as well). Given the speed with which “innovations travel fast” within a digitalised world, a comparative assessment of the successes and drawbacks of administrative policies ought to become imperative. Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Selected publications on the subject by the author (I) “Administrative Reform in Central and Eastern Europe. Towards Public Sector Reform in Post-Communist Societies”, Oxford, 1993 “Der überforderte Staat” (with Th. Ellwein), Baden-Baden, 1993/1995 “Constitutional Policy and Change in Europe” (with N. Johnson), Oxford, 1995 “Federalizing Europe? The Costs, Benefits, and Preconditions of Federal Political Systems” (with V. Wright), Oxford, 1996 “Profiles par Pays des Systèmes de Formation pour le Service Public“, Paris, 1997 “Verfassungsrecht und Verfassungspolitik in Umbruchsituationen. Zur Rolle des Rechts in staatlichen Transformationsprozessen” (with G.F. Schuppert and K. Harms), Baden-Baden, 1999 Governmental Reform in Europe:  Governmental Reform in Europe Selected publications on the subject by the author (II) “Paradoxes in Public Sector Reform. An International Comparison” (ed. with C. Hood and B.G. Peters), Berlin, 2003 “Das Regierungssystem der Bundesrepublik Deutschland”, 2 vols., Berlin, 2004 “Europa professionalisieren. Kompetenzordnung und institutionelle Reform im Rahmen der Europäischen Union” (with F. Grotz), Berlin, 2005 “Vom Werden Europas. Der Europäische Verfassungsvertrag: Konventsarbeit, politische Konsensbildung, materielles Ergebnis”, Berlin, 2006 “The Public Sector in Transition: the European Union and East Asia Compared”, Baden-Baden, 2006 (ed. with J.-E. Lane and Y. Nishikawa).

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