Democratic and administrative reforms: who and why (still) bothers?

Panel 1: Democratic and administrative reforms: who and why (still) bothers?

Chaired by: dr. Veronica Junjan (UT) & dr. Giselle Bosse (UM) &

This panel provides a space to explore the factors affecting the effectiveness and sustainability of the democratization process and public administration reforms in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as well as in the relationship between the EU and its neighbors during the past decades. It aims specifically at comparing the impact of the EU and the New Member States (NMS), as well as on countries located further East, constituting the new neighborhood of the European Union, and other countries in the Union’s vicinity, which have not been offered the prospect of EU membership. Whereas enlargement is generally seen as the EU’s most effective and successful foreign policy for the promotion of democracy, the Union’s efforts to impact on political reforms in the neighborhood through the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) have yielded mixed effects to date.

Democratization and administrative reforms developed in an interplay of actions between domestic (political actors, civil society, citizens) and international (EU, World Bank, OECD, and UN). Reform, restructuring, change are all difficult processes which have an extended impact upon societies, governments and citizens alike. Complex situations and decisions emerge, particularly when these processes overlap with an economic and financial crisis of the magnitude of which the world has known in the recent years. The turbulence of the broad socio-economic context raises more issues regarding the development and sustainability of democratization and administrative reforms.

Papers in this panel will also analyse and compare the mechanisms through which the EU promotes democratisation, as well as the determinants for the successful adaptation and implementation of reforms in CEE and ENP partners.

The panel therefore aims to attract papers which examine the impact of the EU on democratisation in CEE and ENP partners as well as institutional reform. Paper contributions with a focus on public sector/ administrative reforms are particularly welcome.

The panel will contribute significantly to the NIG’s central theme of ‘Multi-level Governance and Europe’. Democratisation and public sector reform in CEE and ENP partner states addresses fundamental changes in the relationship between citizens and the institutions governing the public sphere of these countries. It is therefore essential to explore the effectiveness with which the EU has managed the political reform process in CEE (for instance in comparison to ENP partners) to gain a better understanding of how and why public sector reforms in some countries are being implemented better and faster than in others. In addition, the effectiveness with which democratisation and public sector reforms take place directly impacts on individual citizens. For Benita Ferrero-Waldner, former European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, the ENP signifies not only the ‘latest addition to our democratization toolbox’ to ‘encourage the spirit of democracy’ via strengthening the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights’ (Ferrero-Waldner, 2006a: 1) but also ‘human security – putting individuals at the heart of security concerns’ (Ferrero-Waldner, 2007: 3).

The panel will also contribute to the theme of ‘Public management’, by focussing on the EU’s efforts to promote public sector reforms in CEE and ENP partner countries. The EU has made ‘good governance’ a leading principle in its efforts to promote political reforms in Central and Eastern Europe. The administrations in CEE, however, face a significant challenges adopting and developing the EU’s rules for high quality public management. By focusing on the different mechanisms through which these rules can be transferred, negotiated, and implemented, this panel will also highlights new approaches to achieve high quality of public management in CEE and ENP countries, such as hybrid solutions and reciprocal learning.

Panel organisers:

Dr. Veronica Junjan

University of Twente

Department of Public Administration

PO Box 217

7500 AE Enschede

The Netherlands

T +31-53-4892616


Dr. Giselle Bosse

Maastricht University

Department of Political Science

Grote Gracht 90-92, 6211 SZ Maastricht

P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
T +31 4338 83670  F +31 43 3884917