Friday

21st Jul 2017

EU civil service middle of the road, Ombudsman says

The European Commission is mediocre in terms of administrative efficiency, the EU Ombudsman said on Monday (24 April), with some Belgian politicians keen to introduce a "Kafka index" for Brussels.

"The commission is more or less half way along the line," Nikiforos Diamandouros said while presenting his 2005 annual report on EU red tape, explaining that old EU democracies have the highest standards with young EU democracies lagging in the east.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The commission was established on the French model of public administration and has all the difficulties and all the advantages of this model," he added.

His office received 3,900 complaints against the EU institutions last year, with the European Commission (68%) and EU job recruitment unit EPSO (12%) attracting the most flak.

Lack of transparency and general "unfairness" were the most common gripes, but Mr Diamandouros also singled out late payment to small businesses and NGOs as potentially damaging shortcomings.

Levels of complaints grew by about 5% last year, a "normal rate of growth" compared to 2004, when rates mushroomed by 53% on the back of enlargement.

"The new member states have a large number of complaints because people are testing the system," Mr Diamandouros indicated. "There is also a culture of lack of trust in the state."

Kafka.eu?

The commission is now considering taking a leaf out of the Belgian and French approach to better public service by invoking the name of Czech author Franz Kafka, Belgian politician Vincent Van Quickenborne told EUobserver.

Mr van Quickenborne, Belgium's secretary of state in charge of administrative reform, set up the so-called Kafka index for Belgium in 2004.

The index measures how many of the government's 150 anti-red tape projects have already been achieved (82%) and provides an online forum at www.kafka.be for Belgian people to highlight bureaucratic "absurdities."

The 82 percent figure is displayed in a giant thermometer hanging beside the Belgian prime minister's office in Rue de la Loi, in the heart of the city.

French finance ministry official Jean-Francois Cope plans to introduce a similar system in France later this year, French media report, while The Hague is also showing interest in Mr van Quickenborne's model.

At the EU level, industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen is currently exploring ways to introduce a "kafka.eu" forum for complaints, the Belgian reformer said.

"Forty percent of all regulation in Europe comes out of the commission," he explained. "They should do what we are already doing in Belgium."

Mr Verheugen's staff were unable to confirm the project, but said the commission started a new drive to simplify EU regulations in early 2005 which is the same "in substance" as the Belgian idea.

Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU

Lawmakers in Poland adopted a controversial reform of the Supreme Court, despite warnings from the EU that the move could trigger a sanction procedure over the rule of law.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

Opinion

Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive

Candidates from all political families should be presenting their vision on where the Union should be headed. European socialists want to keep the Spitzenkandidat procedure for future elections.

Investigation

Mafia money pollutes the EU economy

Huge amounts of money from criminal activities are funnelled into the legitimate European economy. But little is being done about it at EU or national level.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary