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Industrial competitiveness

Excellence in Public Administration for competitiveness in EU Member States

The quality of public administration is an important driver of Europe's competitiveness. Modern , innovative and efficient public administrations are the key to sustaining the incipient recovery and unlocking Europe's growth potential.

1. Public administration scoreboard (Member States’ Competitiveness Report)

The growth-friendly public administration scoreboard PDF [596 KB] was published as part of the Member States’ Competitiveness ReportPDF[9 MB] adopted on 11 September 2014. The scoreboard is the first EU-wide exercise to analyse how fit for purpose the Member States’ public administrations are when it comes to promoting growth and competitiveness. It takes a holistic approach that looks at a great number of features important for competitiveness. This in turn should encourage continuous improvement by government and public administrations in the context of the European Semester.

The scoreboard shows a mixed picture. Overall, government effectiveness has not improved on average for the EU over the past five years. Member States’ budgetary, regulatory and implementation capacities are very different. Red tape and high compliance burden — for starting a company and obtaining licences, paying taxes, participating in public procurement, exporting goods and services, and settling legal disputes —  still persist.

The scoreboard also contains examples of successful policies by Member States.

The assessment framework

The scoreboard assesses performance based on a framework that links public administration and competitiveness in a concise and comparable way, using a manageable number of indicators. To help measure and guide the various aspects that are important from a competitiveness perspective, three categories of links were identified, namely: quality of governance; strategic, budgetary, regulatory, and implementation capacities; and business-friendly design in key areas of companies’ dealings with the administration. The three categories are broken down into 10 areas that show the longer-term direction necessary to strengthen public administrations and serve as benchmarks to guide policy:

A. ‘Governance’ covers the multi-dimensional concepts of administrative quality, rule of law and legal certainty, as well the extent to which the powers of government and administration are exercised for private gain.

1. Government effectiveness & corruption

B. ‘Capacities’ captures essential aptitudes of the administration in relation to:

2. Public finances
3. Strategic and implementation capacities
4. Quality of regulations

C. ‘Business-friendly design in key areas’ covers the most important interactions and contact points between the administration and private companies:

5. The use of information and communication technology
6. Starting a business and obtaining licences
7. Public procurement
8. Tax compliance and tax administration
9. Trade and customs administration
10. Civil justice systems

To construct the scoreboard, a set of 21 indicators was selected to represent the three categories of links between public administrations and competitiveness. The choice of indicators is constrained by the availability, quality, country coverage, timeliness and representativeness of the data. In light of possible improvements in data availability and changing policy priorities, the choice of indicators may evolve over time.


2. Study on "Excellence in Public Administration for competitiveness in the EU Member States"

Firms interact with the public administration in a number ways, such as registering a business, applying for licences and paying taxes. The efficiency and predictability of interactions with public administrations are important to economy-wide competitiveness, given their significant impact on the costs and risks companies face in investment decisions. Firms also depend on the public administration as they are the prime beneficiaries of public goods and bear a large part of the overall tax burden.

Although public administration reform ranks high on the European political agenda and that Member States' administrations are facing new challenges in this regard, there is a lack of data and empirical information on administrative structures and reform processes.

The "Excellence in Public Administration for competitiveness in the EU Member StatesPDF [1 MB]study fills this current vacuum. The aim of this report is to define a framework that can be used to assess and measure the quality of public administration in line with the competitiveness agenda of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

The study has a number of aspects. It maps the governance structures and tools for the modernisation of public administration; identifies the specific links between the quality of public administration and the business environment; proposes a framework for the assessment of the quality of public administration in relation to competitiveness; and makes some policy recommendations to improve administrative excellence. The study also highlights the situation and challenges in each specific Member State.

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