Reforms: Political Will and/or Administrative Capacity
5th Annual FEFA Europe Day Conference: "Reforms: Political Will and/or Administrative Capacity" held in Belgrade
5th Annual FEFA Europe Day Conference took place on 10 May 2011 in Belgrade, supported by the EU Delegation in Serbia and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung - Buro Belgrade. This year’s topic was "Reforms: Political Will and/or Administrative Capacity".
The Conference was opened by Božidar Đelić, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Vincent Degert, Ambassador, Prof. Dr Goran Pitić (President of the Council, FEFA), and dr Mihael Erke, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Director, Belgrade Bureau; they all pointed out the relevance of this year’s topic in the context of Serbia’s endeavours to fulfil the conditions for obtaining candidate status.
Head of the Delegation of the EU to Serbia, Ambassador Degert remarked: »An efficient, modern and citizen-friendly public administration is a "must" for the success of Serbia's European integration process». Prof. Pitić as the host of the event reminded that «an important role in building administrative capacity rests with educational institutions such as FEFA, which has had special postgraduate courses in European integration and public administration since 2006».
The topic of Panel I was Political Excellence and Professional Civil Service. Doc. Dr Milica Delević (SEIO Director), Prof. Dr Ana S. Trbović (Director, Centre for European Integration and Public Administration at the FEFA Institute), and representatives of international institutions, including William Infante, UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia, discussed whether this is an idealism or precondition for progress.
Svetlana Đuković, Team Leader of SIDA Public Administration Reform Project in Serbia, explained: “Public administration reform is of key importance for success of EU integration, since public administration is the key agent of the reforms which have to be implemented in this process.”
William Dillinger spoke about the role of the World Bank in the reforms of public administration in the past 30 years and presented a new study on the reform of salaries in Serbia’s public sector, concluding that “although recent measures have been successful in limiting the growth of salaries, long-term systemic measures are necessary in order to improve the performance of the public sector”.
Prof. Trbović, one of the authors of the book “Public Administration and Serbia’s EU Integration” concluded the panel by reminding the audience of the term “good governance”, by which “the citizens claim the right to responsible and effective public administration, especially in times of the challenges of transition, when public administration is the engine of the reforms which lead to better living standards”.
Panel II, Building administrative capacities for European integration, was moderated by Prof. Dr Gordana Matković (FEFA); Marian Lemke (Sigma/OECD) spoke about public procurement and its importance in creating a responsible and efficient public administration; Prof. Dr Stevan Lilić spoke about the modernisation of public administration and Dr Richard Lucking presented the EU-funded “Practical Training for Civil Servants” project, which provides Serbian civil servants with an opportunity to have practical training in the EU institutions; Petar Bozadzhiev from PriceWaterhouseCoopers presented the “Balanced ScoreCard for the Government” project which was implemented in Bulgaria in order to reform the operation of certain public services.
The role of local government, civil society and academia in EU was discussed in the last panel, which was opened by mr Miloš Erić (FEFA). Violeta Jovanović, Director of National Alliance for Local Economic Development – NALED, spoke about the municipal government reform, and this topic was also discussed by Petr Pajas from PASOS, a Czezch non-governmental organisation: “The lessons learned from the Czech experiences in the training of civil servants prior to EU accession highlight the necessity of efficiently combining basic knowledge and understanding of several different areas with deeper knowledge and skills in legal and managerial aspects of developing state policy measures”.
Prof Dr Aleksandra Čavoški, from Union University Law School, spoke about the reform of higher education with a view to providing knowledge and skills for a more advanced Serbian public administration, which is the topic of the TEMPUS project in which this faculty participates along with the organiser of the Conference, FEFA, and EU partners. Finally, Đorđe Staničić from the Standing conference of Cities and Municipalities presented his view of decentralisation and EU accession. The Conference was closed by FEFA Dean, Prof Dr Mihailo Crnobrnja.