Tuesday

24th Oct 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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Investigation

How Romania became EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

EU denies May 'begged for help'

The European Commission says leaked comments to German media are false and an effort to undermine the EU negotiating position on Brexit.

Investigation

How Romania became EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

News in Brief

  1. Tusk: It's up to London to have a good Brexit deal
  2. Bettel wants more ministerial meetings on digital
  3. Austria's Kurz to open coalition talks with far-right
  4. Estonia: Finalising digital market before 2019 'do-able'
  5. Don't let City of London 'drift away', Luxembourg warns
  6. Far-right enters German parliament officially
  7. Orban declares migrant-free zone in Eastern Europe
  8. Madrid set to use force to stop Catalonia independence

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. A Soul for EuropeWho Assumes Responsibility for Europe?' Conference on 10-11 November in Berlin.
  2. Martens CentreI Say Europe, You Say...? Interview With EU Commission VP Jyrki Katainen
  3. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  5. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  6. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  7. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  8. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  10. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  11. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  12. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!