30th NISPAcee Annual Conference
"Crises, Vulnerability and Resilience in Public Administration"
June 2-4, 2022
WG 10: Politico-Administrative Relations in CEE
Working group coordinators:
Staronova Katarina, Comenius University, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernadette Connaughton, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland. Bernadette.Connaughton@ul.ie
Working Group on Politico-Administrative Relations
The reconstituted Working Group on Politico-Administrative Relations (PAR) held three sessions in Bucharest. This was a mix of virtual and in person collaboration where the contributions came under three general themes – interpreting politico-administrative relations in times of crisis and reform, top-level appointments and patterns of politicisation, and PAR factors influencing public servants’ competences and activities. The papers/presentations represented diverse country settings and traditions, including Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, and Ireland.
We note from our presentations and discussions, in line with developments in the literature and in practice, that there is both the interest and scope for further work interpreting the concept of politicisation in both CEE and Western European contexts. Several papers (Romania, Germany as country cases) explored politicisation through viewing patterns of appointments over time, mandate expansion, scepticism about the relevance of political criteria (party membership), and new approaches to measuring politicisation. Further, the role of trust in making appointments and sustaining working relations emerged in linked discussions about understanding relationships between civil servants and political principals. This was reviewed comprehensively through the presentation of primary research on the Slovakian case.
Another key theme arising in the PAR sessions was understanding PAR, institutional responses, and the role of the policy advisory system in times of crisis or reform. This was illustrated through presentations/papers from Czech Republic, Ireland, Romania and Slovakia on coordination responses and the structures for policy advice during Covid 19, pension reform and climate change.
More generally, we find that path dependency and the influence of traditions resonates in all country cases explored. Also, several papers based their studies on existing public information – state databases, archival records, reports - and we are cognisant of the importance of such sources given the challenges that can arise in studying PAR.
Based on these contributions we find potential to continue our conversations about politico-administrative relations at the 31st Annual NISPAcee conference.