Ready for Europe: Public Administration Reform and European Accession in Central and Eastern Europe
As the ongoing political and economic transition in the Central and Eastern Europe countries (CEE) moves into the next century, the most advanced countries in the region are preparing to deal with their prospective entry into the European Union. More a process than an event, joining the EU is likely to place heightened demands on public administrations throughout the region. To assist these countries with their efforts, the Bank conducted a study of the regions. The results of that study are included in this volume. 'Ready for Europe' specifies and clarifies the administrative requirements of accession. The author uses in-depth case studies for three pre-accession countries, Estonia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to make these specifications. The book defines the performance level countries will need to attain for a range of administrative tasks so the countries may reach a minimal threshold for EU membership. It applies selected standards to determine each country's readiness for accession and for the longer-term transition agenda. The author focuses on these three critical areas of administrative performance in the context of EU accession: • How advanced is the development of a politically neutral, professional human resource cadre in the civil service? • Do countries have the necessary institutional infrastructure at the government's core (that is, cabinet level) to formulate and coordinate policymaking in an efficient and democratic manner? • How well are the dedicated institutional structures and processes established to shepherd countries through the accession process working?