European Association for Public Administration Accreditation


A report from the 20th NISPAcee Conference

"Public Administration East and West: Twenty Years of Development"


May 23-25, 2012, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia



The 20th NISPAcee Annual Conference, organised in co-operation with the University,St.Kliment Ohridski - Bitola, Republic of Macedonia, was attended by 240 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 University, St.Kliment Ohridski - Bitola, represented by its Dean of the Faculty of Administration and Information Systems Management, Prof. Panovska-Boskoska Violeta, and other colleagues, mainly Ms. Boskoska Meri and her team for the excellent organisation of the conference, financial support and preparation of the social events, which created a friendly and pleasant atmosphere for all conference participants.

NISPAcee would also like to thank 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 second time, NISPAcee included special Pre-conference Programmes for Young Researchers:

Master Class "How to improve your paper”

This Master class was designed for young scholars from the NISPAcee region who had already written a paper and who wanted to improve upon it. The Master Class was scheduled in such a way as to allow participants to work on their papers just prior to the conference. 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).

The conference began with welcoming and opening speeches given by representatives of NISPAcee (Gyorgy Jenei, NISPAcee President), University St.Kliment Ohridski - Bitola, Republic of Macedonia (Prof. Panovska - BoskoskaVioleta, Dean of the Faculty of Administration and Information Systems Management), Information Society and Administration Ministry of the Republic of Macedonia (Marta Arsovska-Tomovska, Deputy Minister), UN DESA (QianHaiyan - video presentation), EGPA (Geert Bouckaert (EGPA Immediate Past President, IIAS Programme/Research Advisory Committee Chairman), IIAS (Rolet Loretan, IIAS Executive Director, EAPAA (Theo van der Krogt, EAPAA Executive Secretary), IASIA (Allan Rosenbaum, IASIA Immediate Past President), ASPA (Stephen E. Condrey, ASPA President-Elect), NASPAA (Nadia Rubaii, NASPAA President), Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland (Barbara Kudrycka, Minister). The conference programme consisted of working sessions on the main conference theme, general sessions, meetings of research working groups, EAPAA sessions, several Panel Sessions and Forums, and Panels 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.


During the 20th NISPAcee conference, the ceremony of the Alena Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration was held. The Award was given posthumously to Mzia Mikeladze, Caucasus University, ISET, Georgia. The recipient on her behalf was her brother Malkhaz Mikeladze, the Ambassador of Georgia in Mexico.

The NISPAcee 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.


During the meeting, representatives of NISPAcee (Gyorgy Jenei, President and Ludmila Gajdosova, Executive Director) signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the representative from NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration - Nadia Rubaii, President).

Another Memorandum of Understanding of the Consortium of 7 Universities (USA, The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia and Romania) and NISPAcee was signed by representatives of the Consortium.


Within the meeting, anew NISPAcee strategy, bylaws and membership categories and fees were agreed. New Steering Committee members were elected for another period – Patrycja Suwaj, Bialystok School of Public Administration, and Polish Association of Public Administration Education, Poland and Mirko Vintar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. From the new Steering Committee anew NISPAcee President was elected – Mirko Vintar. 

The closing plenary session began with a closing panel on the theme: Twenty years of public administration development.


The second part was devoted to the awards ceremony:

The NISPAcee Merit Awards were presented to Michael Brintnall, APSA, USA and Jacek Czaputowicz, National School of PA, Poland.

The Best Comparative Paper presented at the Conference was presented to the winners, Karin Hilmer Pedersen andLars Johannsen, Aarhus University, Denmark for their paper "Pluralism in Public Administration and Shared Values: The Baltic countries”.

The Award ‘NISPAcee Best Graduate Student Paper’ was presented to the winner, Ionut-Bogdan Berceanu, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania for his paper "Reforming Governments in Emerging Administrations. Case study: South-Eastern Europe”.

The full conference programme can be found via the link: http://www.nispa.org/conference2012



The aim of the WILCO panel was to present some of the intermediate results of the European project ‘Welfare Innovations at the Local Level in Favour of Cohesion” (7th European Framework Programme) to a scientific audience and to exchange insights into different approaches to such complex issues.


Adopting a European geographical focus, the panel aimed to present the ongoing academic discussions and research around innovation in local welfare services, with the focus on the role of civil society organisations and institutional developments stemming from the resulting arrangements.


The panel included a general introduction to the project presented by Taco Brandsen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands and two presentations on key issues of social innovation in Croatia and Poland. Two discussants commented on the presentations.

Main Conference Theme

Mirko Vintar, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Gyorgy Jenei, Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
Allan Rosenbaum, Florida International University, Department of Public Administration, Miami, United States

The five sessions of the main conference theme described and analysed the substantial trends of the twenty year development of public administration teaching and research in the NISPAcee region.


The papers presented provided a detailed overview of the forms and motivations of East-West cooperation and highlighted its contribution:

  • to the development of new public administration, public policy and public management programmes at universities in the region, learning from various models of western institutions,
  • to the creation of curricula and teaching materials,
  • to foster cooperative research programmes, resulting joint conference papers, articles, edited volumes, and research grants.

The papers provided valuable comparative analyses of institutions, models and practices in the framework of a series of selected country case studies dealing with Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Romania, and Slovakia.


They not only assessed the progress of the past two decades, including results and problems, but also helped in articulating trajectories and development strategies for the present and the future. Especially useful insights were provided in the overviews on public administration reforms in the Western Balkan countries in Georgia and in the ASPA panel, in which civil service reforms in Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Poland and Ukraine were discussed. In an outstanding in-depth scientific and professional presentation, the presenter convinced us of the long term importance of "Islamic” public administration.


Most papers pointed out that NISPAcee provided a multi-cultural, institutional and professional background and framework for both East-West and East-East cooperation in the region.

NISPAcee has contributed:

  • to the mutual influences of country developments in the region,
  • to the development of East-West and East-East cooperation in different arenas, (political, professional, academic and research),
  • to the comparative analysis of various public sectors i.e. public finance, health, social welfare, e-government etc.,
  • to the in-depth analysis of roles of institutions and international organisations in the stimulation and provision of East-West and East-East cooperation (EU, OECD/SIGMA, LGI, NAASPA, EGPA, EAPAA),
  • to the identification of cases/examples where cooperation was successful or unsuccessful.

Roundtable discussions and other forms of debates also contributed to the implementation of extremely lively and useful sessions in the main conference theme sessions. The main conclusion of the five sessions was that today, NISPAcee has had an extremely important, multilateral bridging role in:

  • bringing together scholars from various countries to conduct comparative analyses on regional issues and problems,
  • facilitating and organising the transfer of knowledge between US and West European scholars and their East European colleagues,
  • establishing contacts between East European scholars and scholars from Central Europe, Caucasus and the Western Balkans,
  • facilitating the transfer of knowledge to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, and Central Asia.

And last, but not least, NISPAcee has become a recognised regional organisation and considered as a major actor and partner in the region in the field of public administration research and education for all the relevant European, as well as worldwide, organisations.

General Session

Profiroiu Marius, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Faculty of Management, Bucharest, Romania

In order to include a wide array of potential contributors and to make the NISPAcee Annual Conference even more attractive to Public Administration and Policy scholars, experts, and practitioners and to further enhance its position as one of the most important meetings in the field internationally, the 20th NISPAcee Annual Conference included General Sessions in which papers that covered topics which went beyond the conference or working group themes, were presented.

The only criteria for acceptance of the papers to these sessions were:

(a)scholarly quality, (b) interest of the topic and (c) "from or about the region”.

In the General Session (#1) there were the following eight papers:


The papers contributed to stimulating fruitful debates on interesting, valuable and actual topics that concern Central and Eastern Europe. The themes had both a general approach (by presenting comparative transversal analysis), and also a specific approach (by presenting specific case studies).


The paper Grabbing the means of administration political competition and party patronage in East Central European state-building approached the scholarly debate on party patronage in East Central Europe, which is subject to two broad disputes: the first concerns the role of political competition and the second, the classification of East Central European countries on the outcome factor.


This paper argued that both disputes can be resolved by distinguishing between two types of patronage strategies, arguing that the configurations of political competition aspects determine which patronage strategy is chosen. This claim was tested using a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) procedure.


The paper Europeanization as a factor influencing multiple interest representation: Lithuanian environmental policies’ casepresented an analysis of the interest groups in Lithuania, as post-communist EU member states, demonstrating their institutionalisation, accompanied by the process of Europeanization – with both "bottom-up” and "top-down” perspectives. The transfers of activities to the supranational level are restricted by the combination of resources the groups possess and their roots in the domestic institutional environment.


The paper Capitalism: Discontent, partial remedies, lingering doubts explored the question as to whether capitalism is finished or is repairable. Symptoms of capitalist failure abound, yet three factors highlight the problem: disconnection between labour and the market; increasing income inequality, and capital hoarding and accumulation by banks and shadow banks. The prospects presented were that capitalistic changes will be more than cosmetic, being rather strongly counter-intuitive.


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,
Professor, 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 fifth year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the state and development of local government/municipal autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Autonomy was approached from the viewpoint of constitutional/legislative autonomy, control over resources, and political independence from central influence.


The number of applications was higher than in previous years. Unlike past years, the geographical coverage was less widespread. Most presenters came from only three countries—Poland, Romania, Russia—plus we had one presentation from Latvia and another from Estonia.


The trend of professionalisation continued in Ohrid. Presenters observed the time limits, focused on the main points, and used the projector. Whilst the papers were at various levels of maturity, they were mostly concise and well-structured.

This year too, coordinators missed cross-country comparisons. Only one paper was really comparative, the others focused on one country. As with each year, a set of papers concentrated on public administration reforms as a major determinant of local autonomy. One of the papers examined the effect of EU funds on the local room for manoeuvre. Some papers focused on local democracy by discussing the opportunities and limits of public participation and the direct election of mayors.


WG members discussed next year’s conference topic for the working group in two of the sessions. Following the general theme of the 21st annual conference, the WG decided to prepare a Call for Papers on Regionalism. Specifically, our research questions will revolve around the effect of regional reforms on local governments and the impact of EU policies on regionalism.

II. Working Group on e-Government

WG Coordinators:

Ljupčo Todorovski, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Kristina Reinsalu, e-Governance Academy, Tallinn, Estonia

The three-years effort of the e-government workgroup focused on building the learning platform for exchanging showcases and best practices of using information and communication technologies (ICT) in the public sector has shown that ICT induced a number of important changes in a variety of government domains and sectors. However, these changes are not always reflected in positive impact on governance practices, citizens satisfaction with the availability of electronic public services, and their readiness to adopt and use them. To address the issue of lack of impact his year conference mostly focused on two relevant topics of evaluating e-government efforts and e-participation.


The first topic is evaluating e-government efforts in terms of their intensity, effectiveness, and impact. Five papers on evaluation dealt with a variety of aspects: e-government practices on local level in Romania and Turkey, e-government institutional planning in Czech Republic, e-government effectiveness in Russia, international e-government indexes and respective rankings of Romania, and analysis of different evaluation approaches used worldwide. The second topic of e-participation was presented in two papers:


one focusing on citizen participation in the process of constitutional changes in Turkey and the other presenting a guide for implementing e-participation in local administrations around Europe. Finally, one of the papers presented a showcase of using data warehouse technologies for collecting and aggregating data from different sources in the statistical office in Macedonia.


This year selection of eight presented papers was based on twenty-three submitted abstracts. Nine of the abstracts were lated updated to full papers. The papers were presented and discussed within three working sessions in front of about fifteen participants.

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

With an average of more than 15–20 participants in each session (with the exception of the last one) this working group was very busy. The presenters and the participants were a good mixture coming from both science and practice. This mixture of participants could also be observed in the presentations, where we had scientific findings and comparative studies as well as practical implementations and project reports.


In the warming-up phase, 4 teams were built to introduce themselves and formulate expectations. These expectations were documented with the meta plan technique. After a warming up session to install a team spirit in the group, we decided to have a 15-minute presentation and a 15-minute discussion of each paper which was selected for presentation.

Under the main conference theme "Public Administration East and West: Twenty years of development” in the WG "Public service”, different topics were covered:

Many new ideas, especially from young professionals, were most welcome and intensively discussed.

All papers had clear objectives and also some practical solutions. Some project reports were presented for the third time so it was very interesting to follow the project results and implementation. 

This presentation concept should be taken into consideration by NISPAcee as an alternative presentation structure.


The presentations were much improved: the presenters avoided a too broad historical background discussion and went straight to the point of their message and what could be learned from their findings.

Within the discussions, we received new ideas for the WG 2013 in Belgrade:

  • Staff satisfaction and motivation.
  • Demography.
  • Gender.

The coordinators would like to thank the presenters and participants for an intensive and engaged discussion.

IV.Working Group on PA Reform
WG Programme Coordinators:
Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, School of Management and Governance, Enschede, The Netherlands
Diana-Camelia Iancu, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania

The theme of the 20th  NISPAcee Annual conference in Ohrid brought in a very high level of interest within the WG IV PAR in CEECA. With an acceptance rate of about 40%, we selected 17 papers which were all presented during the four sessions assigned to our group. The papers were grouped into sessions, according to the following central themes: Comparative perspectives; Stakeholder perspectives; Normative issues and Solutions. We enjoyed a constant and active audience of about 20 participants per session. The participants, academics and practitioners alike, engaged in lively discussions, where practical experiences, perspectives, and theoretical frameworks were carefully analysed.


Three broad conclusions can be drawn, based on the discussions. First, there should be more attention being paid to the use and adjustment of theoretical frameworks to the local specific and institutional context of the CEECA region. The results obtained, following the research presented, should be more clearly fed back into the current theories, which would imply increasing efforts to publish and become involved in international discussions. Second, we were happy to have good quality papers presented by practitioners active in the region. They provided useful reality checks for academics, as well as a promising beginning for a dialogue between academics and practitioners, which will hopefully lead to enhancing learning on both sides. Third, the issue of measuring reform came to the fore as very significant for both communities involved. In this sense, methodological issues in constructing indicators, unintended consequences of measurement and implementation issues were considered during discussions.


Based upon these conclusions, we intend to focus the Call for 2013 to address and explore further these issues.

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

Eugenijus Chlivickas, Training Centre of the Ministry of Finance, Vilnius, Lithuania, President of the Lithuanian Public Administration Training Association
Borisas Melnikas, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Internationalisation and networking processes are one of the most important conditions for the modernisation of public administration studies and civil servants’ training systems in the European Union and in central and eastern European (CEE) countries. The public administration studies and civil servants' continuous training systems are closely related to the strengthening of administrative capacities and new quality creation according to the new global challenges.


The main attention focused on the following issues:

  • accepting new challenges for the improvement of public servants’ training, studies and qualification quality in the future,
  • new phenomena and problems which will appear in the future,
  • development of the democratic spirit finds 21st century values in the process of qualification development,
  • how to make public administration studies and professional development quality relevant to international standards and current needs,
  • the importance of internationalisation and networking for teaching and professional development processes; sharing new experiences accumulated in CEE countries and members of the EU, whilst improving public servants’ qualifications and organising teaching and studies,
  • international cooperation: its cultivation, not only in CEE countries, but also within the EU and Europe, focusing on EU quality parameters,
  • how the training content of professional development should be relevant to networking, determined by EU enlargement and the perspectives of EU cooperation with Russia and other CIS countries,
  • possibilities for application of the experience accumulated by 'old' EU countries as well as the USA and other western countries in CEE countries,
  • opportunities for the dissemination and application of central and eastern European countries’ experience in Russia and other CIS countries and opportunities for applying experience from Russia and other CIS countries,
  • integration of scientific research elements into the processes of studies, training and qualification improvement by networking and internationalisation,
  • necessity to conduct and expand scientific research in the sector of civil servants’ and public administration specialists’ studies and professional development.

The work in the group in 2012 revealed several problems regarding international cooperation development in the area of civil servants’ training and suggested solutions to them. The title and content of the WG is relatively new – particularly actual and promising nowadays. So, there is a great demand to continue the work in 2013 which has already begun.


The main priorities of the working group have been proposed for the next year:

  1. progressive experience of public administration studies and civil servants’ training accumulated in worldwide practice, EU countries and other countries,
  2. new challenges, new opportunities and new teaching technologies which are to be taken into consideration under conditions of EU enlargement and networking,
  3. analysis of the current situation; development of internationalisation of public administration studies and civil servants’ training systems and implementation of long-term strategies,
  4. development and implementation of international programmes and projects.

VI. Working Group on Fiscal Policy

WG Programme Coordinators:

Lucie Sedmihradska, University of Economics of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Juraj Nemec, Matej Bel University, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia

The WG on Fiscal Policy, during its meeting on fiscal policy, focused on public finance and public financial management issues. Originally two tracks were announced for this conference, i.e. a general track: East and West: Twenty Years of Development: Fiscal Policy and Public Finance and a specialised track: Contracting and outsourcing in the public sector, but as a significant number of authors responded to the current major issue, i.e. the impact of the economic crisis on public finance and the sustainability of fiscal policy at national and sub-national levels, specific attention was dedicated to these papers. Regardless of the topic area, the papers dealt, to a similar extent, with both central and local government issues and applied various methodological approaches: country case studies, comparative papers and papers applying modern econometric methods. In total, 13 papers were presented from ten countries.


The WG has decided on a few changes over the next few years: (1) To change the name of the WG to Public Finance and Public Finance Management, as it expresses more clearly the focus of the Working Group. (2) The WG will continue to announce two research tracks at each conference; however, we will invite all interested parties to be involved in this process.

VII. Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues
WG Programme Coordinator:
Lesya Ilchenko-Syuyva,Associate Professor,Economic Policy Department, National Academy of Public Administration, Office of the President of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

The 20th NISPAcee Annual Conference held in Ohrid, Macedonia gathered academics and practitioners in various fields of public administration, not only from central and eastern European countries, but from all over the world. 


In this framework, the Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issuesprovided a forum for discussion and a unique opportunity to analyse and compare which factors restrict the further development of policy analysis as one of the key issues in public administration. The participants expressed great interest (nineteen presentations were planned during four sessions, but due to organisational and financial reasons, only twelve papers were presented and discussed during the conference) in potential stakeholders of policy analysis, how the current stage of policy analysis in a particular country impacts the economic, social and political environment and how those challenges can be overcome. The Working Group created a forum for exchanging experiences on how academics can meet contemporary needs of public servants as well as in preparing and promoting relevant policy advice.


The participants expressed a high interest in continuing the activities of the Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues under the umbrella of the NISPAcee annual conferences in these selected areas: weaknesses/ strengths of policy analysis in a single country or selection of countries, either generally or in specific sectors; application of techniques (e.g. regulatory impact assessment, ex ante impact assessment, evaluation) and a comparative analysis of similar challenges in policy analysis faced by a variety of countries.

The Working Group contributors would like to express, once more, their thanks to the NISPAcee Secretariat for all their efforts in organising the NISPAcee annual conferences as well as to the local Macedonian organiser – University "St Kliment Ohridski” for their cordial hospitality.

VIII. Working Group on Public Administration Education
WG Programme Coordinators:
Calin Hintea, Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Theo van der Krogt, EAPAA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

This year was the first year of this new working group; nonetheless, we attracted 28 papers, of which 13 were selected for presentation. Unfortunately, 2 papers were not presented, one due to visa problems, and one due to the illness of the presenter.

One session was devoted to papers on public administration education in specific countries; two sessions on teaching public administration, and one on competences and learning outcomes.


The sessions showed immense interest in the area of public administration education at the level of teaching, training and research. We believe that the group has significant perspectives in terms of participation and the quality of papers.


The working group will continue in 2013 and will focus more on selecting the best quality papers within the field. We will give the same freedom to candidates to come forward with papers on all aspects of public administration education.

IX. Working Group on Administration and Management of Internal Security Agencies

WG Programme Coordinator:

Sander Pollumae, Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia

This was the first meeting of the working group devoted to information about the arrangement, organisation, institutions and activities of the police, prisons and other agencies of internal security. The papers presented in the working group focused on the development of internal security agencies during the last two decades and provided data from two countries – Estonia and Macedonia. Next year’s conference topic was also discussed. The group will focus on further research and a study of agencies and policies of internal security.

X. Working Group on Good Governance, Human Rights and Development in Weak, Crisis and Post-conflict States
WG Programme Coordinators:
Tetyana Malyarenko, Donetsk State University of Management, Donetsk, Ukraine
David J. Galbreath, University of Bath, Politics, Languages and International Studies, United Kingdom


The WG is a newly established unit, focused on in-depth analyses of how the values of human rights create conditions for effective governance and economic development.

This year, the WG’s activities aimed at the development of a comprehensive approach, linking human rights, human security and good governance in order to contribute to public policy, through which human rights strengthen the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in eastern and south-eastern European countries.


Thematically, the Working Group embraced the theoretical work on human rights and good governance (for example, the paper by Vladimir Salamatov "Institutional-behavioural parameters of public administration”), specific case studies of good governance practice in CEE and CIS countries (for example, the paper by Alex Aleshka "Georgia: the example of good governance practices for CIS countries” and the paper by Marija Risteska "Gender and inter-ethnic dialogue in Macedonia”) and themed comparative analysis, covering areas of human rights, human security, good governance and economic development (for example, the paper by Tetyana Malyarenko "Human security and development in the Eastern Partnership: a comparative study of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova” and the paper by Marija Milenkovska "The impact of the European court of human rights on protecting human rights in the weak, post-conflict countries”).


During the second year of our work, we will focus on the principles of good governance in the judicial, law enforcement and security systems, as applied to specific empirical cases of the implementation of human rights standards in central and eastern European countries.

Conference Programme

The Conference programme is including opening and closing plenary sessions, general sessions, working sessions on the main conference theme, specialised panels and forums and meetings of NISPAcee Working Groups.