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The 21st NISPAcee Annual Conference

"Regionalisation and Inter-regional Cooperation


May 16-18, 2013, Belgrade, Serbia


The 21st NISPAcee Annual Conference, organised in co-operation with the Faculty of Organisational Sciences, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, was attended by 220 participants from 30 countries worldwide. This included 18 CEE countries covered by NISPAcee’s institutional membership.




NISPAcee would like to thank the local organisers, the University of Belgrade, represented by its Dean of the Faculty of Organisational Sciences, Prof. Drakulic Mirjana, and other colleagues, for 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 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 third time, NISPAcee included special Pre-conference Programmes for Young Researchers: Master Class "How to improve your paper”. The Master Class was conducted by Professor Dr. Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The conference was opened with welcoming and opening speeches given by representatives of NISPAcee, the University of Belgrade, Serbian Ministry of Justice and Administration, EAPAA, EGPA, UN DESA, IASIA, ASPA, NASPAA. The conference programme consisted of working sessions on the main conference theme, general sessions, meetings of research working groups, EAPAA sessions, ASPA and ReSPA panels, and Panels on 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. In addition to the WGs, NISPAcee organised special sessions focusing on the current hot topics of PA practice in CEE to be explored and discussed with practitioners - Colloquium for Practitioners.



Main conference theme sessions


Marius Profiroiu, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romania

Ilona Palne Kovacs, Institute of Regional Studies, Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Science

The submitted abstracts have been grouped into two sessions. The first one dealt with regional policy from different aspects and scales. Three papers were presented. Nico Groenendijk from Twente University (The Netherlands) introduced the macro-regional movements within and beyond the EU borders regarding them as a means for the further integration of regions and countries.


Aleksander Noworol from the Jagiellonian University, Poland, held a theoretical presentation on partnership organisations, motivated by the European cohesion policy, emphasising the role of this principle in regional development. Györgyi Nyikos, National University of Public Service, Hungary, dealt with the new, contradictory challenges of cohesion policy, showing the main paradox of the parallel aim of competitiveness and solidarity.


The second session focused mostly on public administration at regional level. Svetlana Safina introduced the process of regionalisation in the Russian Federation from the aspect of the Bashkir constitutional process. It was interesting to compare the views on the same topic in the next paper by Alexey Barabashev, Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation, who dealt with the regional deconcentration of Russian presidential apparatuses. The third paper by Aleksander Markovic (co-authors Marko Vulic, Bozidar Radenkovic and Labus Aleksandra), Belgrade University, was on social networking in the field of e-government services.


The final plenary session was also devoted to the topic of regionalism. In a framework of panel discussions the coordinators, Marius Profiroiu and Ilona Pálné Kovács, asked the participants about the regional reforms implemented or planned in their countries.The participants Calin Hintea (Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj), Slobodan Dujic (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), Kakha Shengelia (Caucasus University, Georgia) and Györgyi Nyikos (Hungary) outlined the very diverse conditions and ambitions of regionalisation which are present or even absent in these countries, providing national evidence for the fact that there is no single pattern to be followed.


The main message of the sessions and discussions was that much research and evidence are required in order to assist the regionalisation processes in Central and Eastern Europe where the first experiences are ambivalent.


The main conference theme was also discussed within a round table in the closing plenary session comprising Marius Profiroiu, Romania, Ilona Plane Kovacs, Hungary, Calin Hintea, Romania, Slobodan Dujic, Slovenia and Kakha Shengelia, Georgia.



Reports of Working Groups


I. Working Group on Local Government


Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Arto Haveri, Tampere School of Management, University of Tampere, Finland

Topic: "Regionalisation and local governments"


In line with the general theme of the conference, the sixth year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the relationship of regionalisation and local governance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).


Both the functional needs of public administration and the requirements of the EU structural funds led several countries in CEE to either establish new tiers, or to reform the middle level between the central and local government tiers. The general aim of the working group was based on the various CEE or CIS problems - do regional-local relationships live up to the normative expectations and highlight the similarities and differences between countries or regions?


53 applications were received, from which 30 abstracts were selected, and in the conference, 18 presentations were made. The geographical coverage was not as widespread as the coordinators wished, but better than last year. A total of seven presentations came from Poland, two from Hungary, Russia, Romania and Lithuania, and one from Estonia, Slovenia and Latvia.


The quality of the papers has been improving during the last few years and this year was no exception. While papers were at various levels of maturity, there were a number of good and well-structured papers, which could be developed into journal articles. The trend of professionalisation also continued also in the speeches made. Presenters observed the time limits, focused on the main points, and used the projector.


The topic of the group for the 2014 conference in Budapest will be "Mayors, ministers, administrators: Local governments in the political context".


II. Working Group on e-Government


Kristina Reinsalu, e-Governance Academy, Tallinn, Estonia

Ljupco Todorovski, Faculty of Public Administration, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Over the past years, the focus of the e-government working group has been on building a learning platform of exemplary showcases of using ICT in the public sector in the countries of the NISPAcee region. As a consequence, most of the papers have been very country-specific, focusing on a descriptive, often non-critical, analysis of exemplary cases of e-government applications. The shift of focus of the working group towards more universal topics and problems attracted more analytical papers on relevant and important aspects of e-government, common to all the countries in the region. We received twenty-five abstracts in the first round of submissions.


The final programme was based on fourteen full papers. Many authors addressed an analysis and evaluation of e-government initiatives in their countries, while some of them had a narrow single-sector focus (e.g. e-health) with broad cross-country comparisons. We clustered them in five sessions: one on evaluating e-government, two on analysis of e-government initiatives at local and regional level, one on analysis of e-governance and e-health at national level, and one technological session on ideas for using contemporary wireless technologies for innovative e-government solutions.



III. Working Group on Civil Service


Patrycja Suwaj, Polish Association for Public Administration Education, Poland
Hans-Joachim Rieger, DBB Akademie, Germany

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


Topics of the working group for this year were linked to concepts of HR policy and strategy in civil services and performance of training, tools and instruments for public servants:

• General views on civil service EU

• Ethics, integrity management and leadership

• Professionalization qualification, learning and teaching

• Reform of public service and instruments implementation and research

• Specific regional and instrumental aspects of public service

All papers had clear objectives and also some practical solutions. Some project reports were presented the third time so it was very interesting to follow the project result and the project implementation. The presentations improved very much: The presenters avoided a too broad history background discussion and came straight to their message and what to learn out of their findings.


IV. Working Group on Public Administration Reform in CEECA


Veronica Junjan, University of Twente, School of Management and Governance, Enschede, The Netherlands

Diana-Camelia Iancu, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania


The theme of the 21st NISPAcee Annual conference in Belgrade "Regionalisation and Inter-Regional Cooperation” was particularly interesting for WG IV, PAR in CEECA. Fourteen papers out of the 15 which were originally selected were presented during the five sessions assigned to our group. The papers were grouped in sessions according to the following central themes: PAR Theory; Stimuli; Actors; Instruments; and PAR as social Innovation. Our audience included practitioners and academics alike, varied between 15 and 20 participants per session, and engaged in very lively discussions. Practical and personal experiences, theoretical frameworks, and methodological approaches were carefully analysed.


The discussions reached several conclusions. First, it seems that there is a need for more reflection the relationship between "reform” and "change” in the region. Public administrations do engage in transformations at all levels, but consistency is required when analysing the degrees, patterns and reform trends. External and internal driven forces, as well as obstacles for promoting different courses of change, failures and successes (however defined) were all included in the presented case studies and were more carefully coupled with the domestic contexts. Second, as practitioners pointed out, discussing regional experiences is crucial to meaningful research. Raising awareness in academia on sensitive issues in the field is also extremely important.


In perfect tune with our fruitful discussions, our group proudly announces that the CPA-ICPAF Award for Best Comparative Paper presented at the NISPAcee Annual Conference was awarded to one of the papers presented in our sessions, namely, "Ex-post control and steering of government agencies in Lithuania and Romania” co-authored by Vitalis Nakrosis, Calin Hintea, Dan Balica, Adrian Hudrea, and Zilvinas Martinaitis.



V. Working Group onInternationalisation and Networking of Public Administration Studies and Civil Servants’ Training Systems


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


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.


This year the main focus was on the following issues:

  • accepting new challenges for the improvement of public servants’ training, studies and qualification quality in the future;
  • the importance of internationalisation, networking and inter-regional cooperation for teaching and professional development processes;
  • sharing new experience accumulated in CEE countries, members of the EU, whilst improving public servants’ qualifications and organising teaching and studies;
  • possibilities for the application of the experience accumulated by the 'old' EU countries as well as the USA or other Western countries in CEE countries;
  • opportunities for the 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 by inter-regional cooperation;
  • integration of scientific research elements into processes of studies, training and qualification improvement through networking and internationalisation.

The work in the group in 2013 revealed several problems of international cooperation development in the area of civil servants’ training and suggested solutions to them. The title and content of the WG is relevant to solve the problems encountered.



VI. Working Group on Public Finance and Public Finance Management


Lucie Sedmihradská, Department of Public Finance, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic,

Juraj Nemec, Matej Bel University Banska Bystrica, Slovakia


The WG on Public finance and public finance management focused, during its meeting, on local government finance, public financial management and fiscal policy issues. Originally, two tracks were originally announced for this conference, i.e. a general track matching the name of the working group and a specialised track "Quantitative methods and public finance research”. However, only applications for the general track were received. In total, 17 papers were presented, six of them in two monothematic sessions focused on local government finance and efficiency evaluation and the remaining papers in three mixed sessions. The addition of one session for the WG meeting allowed time for further discussion and more focused comments for the authors.


VII. Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues


Frans Jorna,Associate Professor of Governance, Center for Urban and Environmental Development, Enschede, Netherlands


This year’s NISPAcee conference focused the attention of the working group on regional policy and regional cooperation, more specifically, on how to improve policy development, with an eye on the social relevance of the working group. Out of the 24 papers received, 10 were finally included in the programme. The discussion was organised in five sessions:

  • Session 1: Introduction; Evaluation and Learning (2 papers)
  • Session 2: Assessing policies: normative perspectives (2 papers)
  • Session 3: Capacity building: gearing up to improve (2 papers)
  • Session 4: Case studies (3 papers)
  • Session 5: Evidence-based recommendations to the WG (applied to 1 paper being presented)

Over 50% of this year’s WG participants had been participating in previous conferences as well, so that the WG was able to develop a continuous approach and arrange itself in order to cooperate more closely in the upcoming year. In the discussions, one common theme emerged: the need for policy coordination (public-public; public-private) and the consequences for policy design. The group identified two joint research lines that should be explored:

  1. Performance and impact measurement
  2. Comparative approaches of public policy analysis: regulatory versus participatory approaches.

The potential value of the WG for each of its members is high. As colleagues, we can consult each other, review, ask questions, help out with literature, identify comparative cases, publish, initiate joint research programmes and work together as an international group of policy analysts to be flown in anywhere in our region. We are still far from realising that value, however. Arrangements were made to make a first step in this direction:

  • Reconnecting with active participants in previous years to share this year’s work and invite them to (re)join.
  • Compilation of a shared body of knowledge, available for all of the group members, on the basis of an exchange of literature used.
  • Development of a comparative Case inventory.
  • Exchange of curricula and syllabi used by the members to improve our academic programmes.
  • Selection of other venues up to next year’s NISPAcee conference for a core group to start writing together.
  • Identification of practitioners that stand to profit from our work and who could be somehow connected to the group.
  • Improvement of the group’s Facebook page.


VIII. Working Group on Public Administration Education


Calin Hintea, Babes-Bolyai University, Department of Public Administration,Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Theo van der Krogt, EAPAA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands


This year we received fewer papers and had to reject several of them. Also, some of the accepted papers were not presented because the presenters were unable to attend the conference. Therefore, the coordinators decided to use 3 slots for the presentation of ‘special items’.


In the end 5 ‘normal’ papers were presented as planned, 4 of them in 2 slots and one (because the presenter was severely delayed) during one of the special slots.

The five papers had different subjects. One paper presented a (partial) replication of an earlier research on types of PA programmes. A second paper described the transformations in PA curricula in Lithuania in connection with public sector reforms. A further paper described the UN project to develop capacities for professionalism, integrity, and ethics to prevent corruption in the public service. Another paper discussed plagiarism in academia, and a further paper that described PA education and its challenges in Afghanistan.


One of these special slots was used to discuss the Tuning-PA project and the development of generic and specific competences. In another slot, a special project of Babes-Bolyai University was presented, in which Romanian and US students collaborated in research in Romania. Three examples of such projects were presented by the students themselves. In the third special slot, NASPAA’s vice-president presented a paper on global collaboration to promote standards of quality in public administration education. The presentation was followed by comments from representatives of NASPAA, IASIA and EAPAA.

Attendance at the meetings of the working group was very good. In total, 49 different persons attended one or more of the meetings.



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


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


The Working Group on Internal Security is a new NISPAcee Working Group, whose objectives are: 1) to present theory-based country case studies in the working group following a detailed research programme and summarising them into comparative studies; 2) to provide a common ground for comparative research, joint research programmes and international cooperation on training and exchange of experience between practitioners and researchers in the domains of prison, police and other areas of internal security. This was the second meeting of the working group with the general goal to focus on country studies. During the session, Mr Aleksander Aristovnik presented papers "Performance measurement in the Slovenian police at local level: A DEA approach" and "The common assessment framework (CAF) and employee satisfaction: The case of the Slovenian police service" and Mr Sander Pollumae presented a paper "Disciplinary proceedings of convicts in prisons of Estonia". Mr Konrad Pawlowski gave an overview on the role and activities of the Polish border guard. Next year’s conference topic was also discussed.


The group will focus on a rather more theory-based analysis of bureaucracy and government of internal security agencies. Some joint studies were agreed.


X. Working Group on Good Governance, Human Rights and Development


Tetyana Malyarenko, Donetsk State University of Management, Donetsk, Ukraine


The second meeting of the WG on Good Governance, Human Rights and Development focused on case studies of the implementation of a human security strategy in concrete public policy initiatives in countries of Central Eastern Europe, post-soviet countries and Afghanistan. Whereas the first meeting of WG10 was aimed at discussing human security as a concept for foreign and domestic policy, as well as clarification of the links between human security and good governance, the meeting in Belgrade gave priority to the practice of implementation. Through a thorough analysis of a few single country case studies and structured comparisons, the members of the WG and guests elaborated a comprehensive overview of why human security has increased importance for public management, both in developed democracies and countries in transition.


Colloquium for Practitioners


Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


During the 21st NISPAcee conference in Belgrade, for the first time, a colloquium for practitioners was organised by Michael Brintnall and Michiel S. de Vries. The colloquium consisted of two sessions. In the first session, public-private relations were discussed and during the second, the difficulties of administrative reform. The goal of both sessions was not to discuss papers, but to discuss the topics as such. This proved to be very interesting and all participants were enthusiastic about the approach. During both sessions there were a huge number of participants who enjoyed the idea of discussing the topical themes instead of scholarly papers.

One of the peculiarities of the colloquium was that although the sessions were primarily meant for practitioners, the majority of the attendants were academicians. This was, of course, in accordance with the small number of practitioners attending the conference as a whole, but nevertheless something might be done to attract more practitioners to this colloquium next year, if it continues. One of the ideas is to have an extra session in which the winners of the EPSA award present what they did in order to receive that award and to discuss these practices.



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.


A new Steering Committee member was elected for another period – Jadranka Djurkovic, Human Resource Management Authority, Government of Montenegro. Ringa Raudla, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia was re-elected for another period.



NISPAcee Awards

During the 21st NISPAcee conference held in Belgrade, Serbia, May 16-18, 2013, the following awards were presented:
The Alena Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration was given to Prof. Calin Hintea, Dean of the Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania. 









The NISPAcee Merit Awards were presented to Prof. Gyorgy Jenei, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary (on the right), and



Dr. Theo van der Krogt (on the right), General Secretary, EAPAA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation)  for the substantial support and contribution to NISPAcee's development.



The Mzia Mikeladze PhD Thesis Award was presented to Mrs. Jane Järvalt, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia for the PhD thesis „Strategic Human Resource Management in the Public Service: Evidence from Estonia and Other Central and Eastern European Countries”.










The Best Comparative Paper presented at the Conferencewas presented to the winners Prof. Vitalis Nakrošis, Vilnius University, Lithuania, Dr. Žilvinas Martinaitis, Vilnius University, Lithuania, Prof. Calin Hintea, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, Mr. Dan Balica (on the right), Babes-Bolyai University, Romania,



Adrian Hudrea, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania for their paper "Ex post control and steering of government agencies in Lithuania and Romania”.


The Award ‘NISPAcee Best Graduate Student Paper’ was presented to the winner Ms. Palina Prysmakova (in the middle) Florida International University, Miami, USA for the paper „Public Service Motivation in Europe: Testing Attitudes toward Work Motives".


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