The 8th NISPAcee Annual Conference

"Ten Years of Transition:

Prospects and Challenges of the Future for Public Administration "

Budapest, Hungary, April 13 - 15, 2000

The NISPAcee Annual Conference is a forum for experts, scholars, researchers, public servants and practitioners of public administration and management in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The focus of the 8th NISPAcee conference will be on the state of public administration in CEE countries after ten years’ transition and, at the same time, on the challenges that public administrations in these countries will face at the beginning of the next century, including the European integration process as an impetus of reform in many CEE countries. The conference’s objectives are to analyse the lessons learnt, to identify the principal challenges that remain and, most importantly, to develop viable solutions.

The conference will consist of two working sessions with a direct focus on the conference theme and several working groups on topics which generated considerable interest among NISPAcee members. The working sessions and working groups will be led by specialists who will run interactive discussions directed at exploring the subject and reaching conclusions regarding future research and directions. The conference language is English.


A. Working Session:

European Integration as an Agent of Public Administration Reform: Impact on Countries in Transition

Many of the countries who have applied to become EU members have progressed quite far in meeting the requirements of the Association Partnerships in terms of incorporating many parts of the acquis and transposing many of the Community's legal rules into their national law. In this working session NISPAcee aims to analyse the effects of these legal changes, identify the many remaining challenges for CEE public administrations to integrate successfully with the EU, and analyse the relevance, advantages and disadvantages of this process for the NIS countries if applicable. The tempo of reform engendered by the EU accession process has placed the changes in the CEE pre-accession countries at the vanguard of the entire agenda of public administration reform.

The working session programme will be structured around the following themes:

Developing Administrative Capacity to Meet the Requirements of EU Membership

What efforts have been made to upgrade general administrative capacities to meet the demands and criteria of EU membership? The area of necessary reform is large: increasing the performance orientation of management, attracting and retaining highly qualified staff, ensuring the impartiality of the civil service, improving human resource management, strengthening public confidence in the public service, reducing the opportunities for corruption, changing civil service laws to integrate European service and ethical considerations, embedding civil service values in administrative institutions, improving the effectiveness of institutional structures, improving the quality of legal regulations, and more. What barriers have been encountered? Even though countries are at different points on the reform path, what prospects and plans for future reform are shared? To what extent will the OECD/SIGMA's definition of a 'European Administrative Space' help in planning, measuring and prioritising reform?

Developing Sustainable Training Systems

Training systems are an essential component of other assistance measures, such as the Twinning programme, whose benefits may be captured only with a strong training system and improved human resource capacities. The subject of much debate in recent years, training remains however an obdurate area of organisational reform. What is necessary to go from plan to action in the area of training for European integration? Can too much planning stifle action? What mechanisms have proven necessary for the institutionalisation of successful long-term training of civil servants?

Facing Dilemmas and Resolving Conflicts

The urgency of the integration process and the enormity of tasks that are necessary to complete may create distortions. Can the haste to conform to EU priorities draw resources and energy from the tasks of public administration modernisation? Are academic and training investments balanced in view of the long-term healthy development of public administration capacity? Is it possible to maintain historical peculiarities – culturally determined institutions and procedures – given the pressures towards harmonisation? Is the 'Europeanisation' of the transformation process a purely healthy phenomenon? Also, are the standards demanded by the EU reasonable and realistic? And are there other, better ways to inventorize and assess progress in the pre-accession process?

B. Working Session: Learning from Transition & Challenges of the Future

Ten years of transition has led to different achievements in different countries. Examples of successful Public Administration progress and reform, as well as failures vary from one country to another. The candidate countries to EU have to deal with aquis communitaire and the specific challenges of EU integration on their public administration systems. What are the challenges faced by all states in the CEE and NIS regions? All have undergone post-communist transformations and are fundamentally reforming their political, economic and administrative institutions, although not all in view of EU membership. But how similar is this process from country to country? The relative advances of several CEE countries are serving as models for some of the less-advantaged states. Reforms and solutions to difficulties developed in the CEE countries could be of utmost relevance to the NIS states due to the historical, conjunctural and institutional similarities between the transition countries.

The working session programme will be structured around the following themes:

Developing Public Administrative Capacity: Successes and Failures

What has been achieved? What are the lessons learned from successive waves of public administration in a given country or in the region? What are the tasks for the development of sustainable and successful training systems? This working session will also address the issue of how to increase systemic capacity for learning from experience – both failure and success - for the benefit of future public administration reform.

'Europeanisation' without the EU? The Effects on the Newly Independent States

What is the relevance, the advantages and disadvantages of this process of European integration in CEE for the NIS countries? Designing administrative mechanisms for the effective implementation of new laws and improving the reliability of the public service is a common necessity throughout the region. Training is a universal need. To what extent are the developments in the NIS states affected by the developments in CEE and the impact of a broader process of ‘europeanisation’.

Steering Public Administration into the next Century

What are the main challenges for public administrations in CEE and NIS countries in the years ahead? Promoting democratic consolidation and economic development while preserving social unity, pluralist societies, and the rule of law are likely to be enduring ones. The capacity to adapt to changing external conditions and the ability to attract and retain the human potential are just two of the key factors which will determine the quality of public administrations in the region.


Three working groups have been established under NISPAcee’s auspices on topics which generated considerable interest in past conferences. The working groups aim to meet and discuss results of research conducted in the previous year during the annual conference. These working groups are open to new contributors and have issued a call for participation and papers in the topics listed below.

Proposals for new working groups on topics, which generated considerable interest among NISPAcee members, could be also considered within the deadline announced below. The proposal have to be submitted by the working group co-ordinator and must include:

1. Working Group on Politico-Administrative Relations


Tony Verheijen
UNDP, Slovak republic
Contact: Tel:+421-7-5933 7111 Fax:+421-7-5933 7451

Alexandra Rabrenovic, Belgrade University, Yugoslavia
Contact: Tel:+381-11-3241 505 Fax: +381-11-3221 299

The aim of this WG is a multi-disciplinary analysis of the main causes of the stalemate in the development of politico-administrative relations in Central and Eastern Europe, drawing on insights from history, law, political science and sociology, using comparative analytical methods.

The working group’s activities started with the development of the comparative protocol for the study of politico-administrative relations, carried out by the co-chairs in April-June 1998. This was followed by the production of a first set of country studies and a comparative analytical paper, all presented at the NISPAcee Annual conference in Sofia (March 1999). At this conference several areas for thematic studies were identified, and a sub-group on thematic papers will start working for now.

If you are interested in participating in the Working Group please contact the co-ordinators.

2. Working Group on Better Quality Administration for the Public


Joanne Caddy, SIGMA, Paris, France
Contact: Tel:+ 33-1-45 24 13 77 Fax: + 33-1-45 24 13 00

Mirko Vintar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Contact: Tel:+386-61-168 6374 Fax: +386-61-168 6204

Ensuring quality requires the public administration to: tailor its actions to the expectations and needs of the public it serves; assess its performance; and incorporate this information into efforts to bring about improvements. Among the issues to be addressed by this Working Group are: promoting and measuring quality within the public administration, the role of public consultation in improving the quality of policy-making, and reducing administrative burdens (such as those generated by EU accession).

A set of detailed ‘Guidelines for Research’ to be conducted by the Working Group will soon be available on the NISPAcee website together with a ‘Call for Papers’ setting out the schedule by which the work will be carried out.

If you are interested in participating in the Working Group please contact the co-ordinators.

3. Working Group on System of Social Security with Special Emphasis on Problems of Unemployment, Poverty and Gender


Janos Hoos, BUES, Budapest, Hungary
Contact: Tel:+36-1-121 620 16 Fax:+36-1-121 620 16
In the former socialist countries in Eastern-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union one of the key issues is how to build a sound and efficient social security system compatible with a modern market economy. In the face of severe social problems, in part inherited from the old system and in part engendered by the process of the economic and political transformation, there is a pressing need for solutions. This Working Group seeks to make a contribution towards this goal through its research activity which will focus on: systems of social security with special emphasis on the unemployment, poverty, youth and gender problems in transition countries.

The Working Group recognises that its “comparative advantage“ lies in its first-hand knowledge of the conditions in the region, and bases its work on field studies to produce country case studies. The case studies integrate theoretical considerations of social security policy and systems, the lessons of the advanced market economies and the field studies conducted in the countries of group members. These studies constitute the basis for the exchange of knowledge on social security systems in a range of countries and for developing recommendations for future policy-making.

If you are interested in participating in the Working Group please contact the co-ordinator.

Hotel reservation and registration froms are available from the NISPAcee Secretariat on a request.

The final version of the selected papers is to be sent to NISPAcee Secretariat by March 15, 2000.
February 29, 2000 - the deadline for interested participants without papers.

Contact person
Applications and inquiries are to be addressed to:
Mrs. Viera Wallnerova
Hanulova 5/B
840 02 Bratislava 42
Slovak Republic
Tel/Fax: +421-7-642 85 557, 642 85 357


Application form for applicants from eastern countries - RTF document (MS Word for Win95)

Application form for applicants from western countries - RTF document (MS Word for Win95)

Hotel Reservation Form / Registration Form :

Form - RTF document (MS Word for Win95)





A. European Integration as an Agent of Public Administration Reform: Impact on Countries in Transition
B. Learning from Transition & Challenges of the Future


1. Working Group on Politico-Administrative Relations
2. Working Group on Better Quality Administration for the Public
3.  Working Group on Systems of Social Security with Special Emphasis on Problems of Unemployment, Poverty and Gender

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