European Association for Public Administration Accreditation

Golden Sands Bulgaria

"Public Administration of the Future"

                        May 19-22, 2011, Varna, Bulgaria



Photos from the Conference

Conference programme is available along with the presented papers at the conference.


The 19th NISPAcee Annual Conference, organised in co-operation with the Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar”, Varna, Bulgaria, was attended by more than 260 participants from 32 countries worldwide. This included 22 CEE countries covered by NISPAcee’s institutional membership.

NISPAcee would like to thank the local organisers, the Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar”, represented by its Rector, Anna Nedyalkova, Vice-Rector,Pavel Pavlov, and other colleagues, mainly Kremena Andonova, Polya Katsamunska and Alexandra Parashkevovafor the excellent organisation of the conference, financial support and preparation of the social events, which created a friendly and pleasant atmosphere for conference participants.

NISPAcee would also like to thank the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative, affiliated with the Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary, which financially supported the meetings of several of the working groups and contributed to the success of the conference.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the programme coordinators of the conference sessions and working groups for their contributions to the high scientific and academic value of the entire event.

For the first time, NISPAcee included special Pre-conference Programmes for Young Researchers:

Master Class "How to improve your paper”

For the first time, and based on participants’ strong expressions of interest, NISPAcee offered a workshop on how to improve one's paper, with special focus on the introduction and conclusions. This Master class was designed for young scholars from the NISPAcee regions who have already written a paper and who want to improve upon it. The Master Class was scheduled in such a way as to allow participants to work on their papers for the conference themselves just prior to the conference. The class was sponsored by LGI and free-of-charge for the selected participants. Based on the applications, 12participants were accepted for the class.


The Master Class was conducted by Professor Dr. Michiel de Vries (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands who is also the Chair of Working Group IV on Public Administration Reform and a member of the editorial board of numerous journals in Public Administration) and Dr. Marlies Honingh, Assistant Professor (Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands).


Master Class PowerPoint

For the first time, and based on participants’ strong expressions of interest, NISPAcee offered a workshop on how to optimally present one's paper with PowerPoint©slides. This was designed for younger conference participants who had a good paper which had already been accepted but who could improve upon how to present it, with emphasis on the slides themselves, and secondly on the oral presentation. The Master Class was scheduled in such a way as to allow participants to work on their presentations for the conference themselves. The class was sponsored by LGI and free-of-charge for participants. Based on the applications, 8 participants were accepted for the Master Class.
The Master Class was conducted by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Drechsler (TU Tallinn, Estonia), first winner of the Alena Brunovska Award for teaching excellence and a recent NISPAcee Steering Committee member.

The conference was opened with welcoming and opening speeches given by Mzia Mikeladze, NISPAcee President, Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia, Anna Nedyalkova, Rector of Varna Free University, Varna, Bulgaria, and Meredith Newman andToni Samuel, ASPA (American Society for Public Administration), USA. The conference continued with a panel of high-level Bulgarian government representatives on the topic: New Challenges for the Bulgarian Public Administration, moderated by Daniela Petrova, Chairperson of the Culture, Civil Society and Media Committee, National Assembly. The speakers were: Andrey Kovatchev, Member of the European Parliament, Avgustina Tzvetkova, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria and Kiril Yordanov, Mayor of the Municipality of Varna. The speeches were followed by a presentation by the keynote speaker Geert Bouckaert, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.


The opening plenary session concluded with the presentation of the NISPAcee Alena Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration to Laszlo Vass, Budapest School of Communication and Business, Budapest, Hungary who delivered a paper "Policy Communication: The Common Language Divides the Actors”.

The following part of the conference programme consisted of the working sessions on the main conference theme, general sessions, meetings of seven working groups, EAPAA sessions, several Panel Sessions, Roundtable discussions and Fair of new projects, which enriched the programme of the conference with new information, and a presentation of new initiatives and opportunities for collaboration with external organisations, as well as within NISPAcee.

TheNISPAcee Business Meeting was also, as usual, on the conference programme. The annual reports (activities, finances) and future plans were presented to representatives of the NISPAcee members and other participating guests.
New Cooperation Agreements

During the meeting the representatives of NISPAcee (Mzia Mikeladze, President and Ludmila Gajdosova, Executive Director) signed the cooperation agreement with representatives of ASPA (American Society of Public Administration - Meredith Newman, Imediate Past President and Toni Samuel, Executive Director) and EAPPA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation - Mr. Theo van der Krogt, Secretary General).

The closing plenary session began with a Roundtable discussion on the theme: Public administration of the future: What have we learned, where do we go from here? by the moderator, Tiina Randma-Liiv, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia with discussants: Geert Bouckaert,Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, Wolfgang Drechsler, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia and Allan Rosenbaum, Florida International University, USA. This final roundtable discussion of the Main Conference Theme, "Public Administration of the Future”, is a new feature of the NISPAcee Annual Conference, replacing the brief reports from the individual working groups. The discussants looked again at all the sessions, speeches and discussions over the course of the conference that have dealt with this overarching topic, and tried to distil some of the lessons learned from them, what the individual’s and NISPAcee’s position in the changing context of global and regional development might be, and where we go from here.

The Award ‘NISPAcee Best Graduate Student Paper’ was presented to the winner
Simona Sora, Romania, PhD student at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romania for her paper "Training diplomats in the 21st century: a comparative EU perspective”.

The Best Comparative Paper presented at the Conference was presented to the winners Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, The Netherlands, and Diana-Camelia Iancu, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania for their paper "Post EU accession reforms in Central and Eastern European countries: Who will (continue to) bother?”.

TheNISPAcee MERIT AWARD was presented to Stanka Setnikar-Cankar,University of Ljubljana,Slovenia and Geert Bouckaert, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium for their substantial contributions to NISPAcee’s development.

The full conference programme can be found via the link:


Main Conference Theme

Geert Bouckaert, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Public Management Institute, Leuven, Belgium
Tiina Randma-Liiv, Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Public Administration, Tallinn, Estonia

The main session at the NISPAcee annual conference in Varna brought together scholars and practitioners in public administration to reflect on the state of the field and its future. The purpose of the main session was to exchange knowledge of current and emerging public administration problems and potential solutions.The focus was on the challenges of public administration of the future: globalism, the public service of the future, quality of public services, and the impact of the financial crisis on governance patterns. A steadily increasing number of countries have to deal with a large number of changes related to demographic shifts, migration, ethnic issues, climate change, and managing technological developments. Ittranspiredfrom the discussion in the main session that the traditional tasks that governments usually undertake have multiplied and grown much more complex in scope. Therefore, governments around the world hinge more centrally on public administration than ever before. These challenges of the future are even more complicated in CEE countries, where the context of public administration is more complex due to communist legacies, unstable political environments and limited resources, as well as struggles with development of liberal democracy and a market economy. Finally, far-reaching developments in the economic, social and political environment of the state provided a basis for revisiting basic issues of public administration during the main session ─ what the role and functions of public administration should be, what the state can and cannot do, what the failures and the successes are and how best to accomplish the latter.

The second part of the Main Conference Theme sessions was a roundtable discussion on the topic "Public administration of the future: The United States’ perspective” moderated by Wolfgang Drechsler, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia with the following discussants:

Michael Britnall, Executive Director, American Political Science Association (APSA), Washington DC, United States

Meredith Newman, Florida International University, Department of Public Administration, Miami, Florida, United States

Ban Carolyn, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School Public and International Affairs, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Allan Rosenbaum, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, United States

As United States theory and practice of Public Administration are both in constant, crucial interchange with and quite distinct from its counterparts in the NISPAcee region, yet often agenda-setting and trail-blazing, this roundtable provided a unique and important perspective on how Public Administration will develop in and for the future.

General Session

Mzia Mikeladze, Centre for Training and Consultancy, Tbilisi, Georgia
Gyorgy Jenei,
Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary

Presentations in the General Session were diverse by their very nature and the list of issues that they addressed. Overall, ten papers were presented. These presentations were divided into two separate panels. One of them was devoted to Bulgarian public administration. Presenters discussed the past and future of Bulgarian public administration reforms, their major achievements and setbacks and instruments used for improving the country’s administrative capacity. Several papers analysed the sustainable development of Bulgarian municipalities and the ways in which municipal property should be managed.

The non-Bulgarian panel was devoted to a broad range of issues including the dilemma of integration and disintegration of the European Union, management of Rumanian public agencies and their organisational culture, changes in the Hungarian tax system and aspects of economic growth in Uzbekistan.

Panel on Health Care, Health Reforms and their Implementation
Juraj Nemec
, Matej Bel University Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
James Warner Björkman, Leiden University, Netherlands

The panel on Comparative Health Reforms focused on processes and outcomes in the region. The papers followed explicit guidelines which provide the basis for a future book. The panel had attracted many applications, nine of which were included in the programme but one author did not arrive. Information about health care reforms in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the USA were presented, followed by intense discussions and a refinement of comparisons. The country studies confirmed that health reforms in Central Europe deliver results on a limited scale. An explanation of the reasons for such a situation is the primary goal of the planned book. The panel participants are expected to submit final drafts of their country chapters for this book by September 2011.


Working Groups

I.Working Group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:

Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland

Topic: From the Past to the Future: How does history matter for the development of local governments in CEE?

The fourth year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the relevance of history for the future of local governments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The workshops explored how past developments have influenced the decisions and opportunities of local governments.


Few papers adhered strictly to the original idea of the Call, namely an exploration of the causal mechanisms between past and present. Still, most papers were rich in detail of process tracing, and could be published after a reasonable amount of revision. The coordinators felt that there was a lack of cross-country comparisons, and would like to encourage more comparative papers in the future. A set of papers were presented on the ongoing regional reform in Romania, the development of local autonomy in Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, Slovakia and Kirghizstan, and the capacity and quality of local government in countries such as Macedonia, Russia and Bulgaria.


Next year’s conference topic was also discussed. The group will focus on local government (municipal) autonomy, especially the state and development of local autonomy in different countries and in the context of public sector reforms. Papers may also discuss such issues as the concept of local autonomy and the different outcomes of local autonomy (or lack thereof).

II. Working Group on e-Government

WG Coordinators:

Ignace Snellen, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Ljupčo Todorovski, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

This was the third meeting of the working group dedicated to the general theme of the NISPAcee learning platform on e-government. The platform represents a common framework for facilitating a more formal exchange of best practices of using information and communication technologies in the public sector, where the transfer of knowledge can be monitored, documented, and evaluated. The platform can also facilitate a comparative analysis of showcases and good practices which would go beyond single country borders. With the call for papers for this year’s meeting, we solicited further candidate showcases to be considered for inclusion in the learning platform, as well as comparative studies of those already existing.

The programme of the group consisted of 11 presentations from nine countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, and Uzbekistan. The papers were clustered into two thematic clusters: the first cluster consisted of five comparative studies, while the second included six descriptions of showcases.


In the course of three years, approximately half of the papers presented at the meetings of the working group were related to the topic of the learning platform on e-government; most of them describe show cases with a few comparative studies. The collected papers are planned to be published by NISPAcee.

III. Working Group on Civil Service
WG Coordinators:
Patrycja Suwaj
, Polish Association for PA Education; Bialystok University, Poland
Hans Joachim Rieger, Head of department in DBB academy, Bonn, Germany

Theme 2011:
General: Civil Service models in the EU and CEE countries
Specific:HR policy and Instruments

During the first session, the discussion centred on how much impact a good legal framework has. It was also mentioned that the organisational know-how and the organisational culture are extremely relevant for the prevention of corruption and the improvement of integrity.

In the second session there were several presentations on comparative studies of different aspects of public service and change processes.


In the following sessions, different models and instruments of HR were presented, especially the role of leadership and the importance of leadership functions.

The topics of staff appraisals, performance related pay and performance management systems were highlighted. The Group members spoke about the positive and negative impacts of different approaches and practical solutions. The competence model, again specified for leaders in the public service, was the last topic on which we shared our opinions.

IV. Working Group on PA Reform
WG Coordinators:
Michiel de Vries
, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, School of Management and Governance, Enschede, The Netherlands

The topics that were covered were as follows: comparative studies, theoretical studies, and three sessions with case studies, grouped according to regional criteria i.e. Central Asia, Caucasus, Eastern Europe, then the Balkans area, and Central Europe (EU countries). As to the discussions within the sessions, the participants and presenters discussed the relative impact of contextual factors and external pressure, the role of leadership and colleagues, the attempts in different countries to increase public administration, the different ways to solve implementation problems, problems of public integrity, and the extent to which EU membership has changed any inclination to reforms.


The session on Central Asia was particularly well attended this year, benefitting from the participation of a large part of the members of the delegation of Afghan academics. The ensuing discussion emphasised the relevance of sharing reciprocal experiences between Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia in addressing the challenges of reforming public administration.


The clear guidance on how the papers should be structured and the coherence in themes addressed by the authors makes it feasible to produce an edited book with the best papers on PA reform in a large variety of countries. The plan is to collaborate with the coordinators of some of the other working groups to produce an edited volume on Public Administration Reform in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Papers addressing this topic were, for instance, also delivered for the working groups on Local Government, the group on Policy Analysis and within the General Session.

V. Working Group on Internationalisation and Networking of Public Administration Studies and Civil Servants’ Training Systems
WG Coordinator:

Eugenijus Chlivickas, Training Centre of the Ministry of Finance, Lithuania, President of the Lithuanian Public Administration Training Association

In general, the following relevant problems were discussed in the working group:

  • new challenges to develop public administration studies under conditions of internationalisation and networking;
  • progressive experience of public administration studies accumulated through international practice;
  • establishment and development of public servants’ education and training systems;
  • development and implementation of national and international solutions for the improvement of such systems, based on lifelong learning principles.

Special attention was given to the following issues: accepting new challenges for the improvement of public servants’ training, studies and qualification quality in the future. Discussions were also held on new phenomena and problems which will appear in the future, and development of democratic spirit finds 21st century values in the process of qualification development. Participants shared experiences on how to make public administration studies and professional development quality relevant to international standards and current needs. Attention was also focused on the importance of internationalisation and networking for teaching and professional development processes. An important issue was the sharing of new experiences accumulated in CEE countries and also in international organisations, e.g. the OECD, UNESCO and others, while improving public servants’ qualifications and organising teaching and studies and international co-operation: its cultivation, not only in CEE countries, but also within the EU and Europe, focusing on EU quality parameters, possibilities for application of the experience accumulated by 'old' EU countries as well as the USA or other Western countries in CEE countries, opportunities for dissemination and application of Central and Eastern countries’ experience in Russia and other CIS countries and opportunities for applying experience from Russia and other CIS countries.

The results ofthe working group were characterised by a resolution. The main priorities of the work group were determined to be:

  • progressive experience of education and civil servants’ training accumulated in international practice and new challenges. New opportunities and new teaching technologies, which are to be taken into consideration under conditions of internationalisation and networking of public administration studies;
  • experience of internationalisation and networking of public servants’ training accumulated in CEE countries and analysis of the current situation in these countries;
  • development of civil servants’ education and training systems and implementation of long-term strategies. Development and implementation of international programmes and projects, e.g. ERASMUS, Gruntvig, Leonardo da Vinci and the Newton Programme, in the sector of education and public servants’ training.

The papers qualified in a complex way the present situation in the majority of CEE countries, which has transpired in the sector of civil servants’ training and public administration specialists’ education, studies and qualification development. The majority of the speakers defined the progressive experience accumulated in the institutions and countries they represented, for example the project "Public Service 2020”.

Each of the speakers pointed out that problems of civil servants and public administration specialists’ education and development and studies and professional development generate considerable interest and attention in their countries. In a number of presentations it was mentioned that progressive experience in the sector of teaching and professional development is ‘transferred’ from the old EU countries.

The members of the working group discussed the possibilities to develop the further co-operation of institutions working in the sector of public administration studies and public servants’ training in EU countries, Russia and other CIS countries. The work in the group revealed several problems of international co-operation development in the area of civil servants’ training and suggested solutions to this.

VI. Working Group on Fiscal Policy

WG Coordinators:

Lucie Sedmihradska, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic

Vratislav Izak, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic

The WG on Fiscal policy met for the first time. During the two days, 19 papers from twelve countries on various aspects of fiscal policy, such as public expenditure efficiency, tax reform and the impact of the economic crisis on public budgets or local government finance issues, were presented and discussed. Selected papers will be published after a successful review process in a special issue of the European Financial and Accounting Journal.

The participants of the meetings expressed a strong interest in the continuation of the activities of the working group. On the basis of their comments and previous experience, the group coordinators will work on a specific thematic Call for Papers, followed by a detailed research protocol. Several topics were proposed, such as expenditure analysis, sustainability of fiscal systems or what we have learned from the West. Other possible topics can be proposed by all interested parties by mid-June. On the basis of all proposals, topics for future in-depth research will be selected by the coordinators.

VII. Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues
WG Coordinators:
Lesya Ilchenko-Syuyva,Associate Professor,Economic Policy Department, National Academy of Public Administration, Office of the President of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
Leslie Pal,
Carleton University, School of Public Policy and Administration, Director, Centre for Governance and Public Management Chancellor's Professor, Ottawa, Canada

As part of the public administration reforms, a significant effort has been made to improve decision-making within the public sector, by developing capacity in policy analysis in CEE, Central Asia and Caucasus counties. The Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues (hereinafter – WG PPA) was officially formed in 2010 after organising several successful panels at NISPAcee conferences in previous years. It brings together international scholars conducting research on various aspects of public policy.

In 2011, the WG PPA has organised four panels (in five sessions):

  • policy analysis (practice and theory),
  • perspectives on the policy process,
  • policy design and policy instruments, and
  • evaluation and regulatory impact assessment.

The 14 presented papers focused on trans-national spaces, political parties and other actors in the policy process, evaluation and regulatory impact assessment. Country and regional case studies included: Bulgaria, Kirghizstan, the EU, the OECD, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, and Ukraine.

The WG PPA continued discussions on which factors restrict the further development of policy analysis, who are the potential stakeholders of policy analysis, how the current stage of policy analysis in a particular country impacts on economic, social and political environment, and how these challenges can be overcome (i.e. through upgrading academic, training and retraining programmes).

All in all, more than 40 representatives took part in the WG PPA sessions. Practitioners and researchers of more than 13 countries showed their interest in the topic and 14 speakers presented papers on the various elements of sectoral public policy analysis.

On the basis of the experience gained, the WG PPA coordinators would like to express their thanks to the LGI and NISPAcee staff for their support of the new initiative, to all participants of the WG PPA for their professionalism and interest in public policy analysis and look forward to further fruitful co-operation within the WG on Public Policy Analysis in the future.