KEYWORDS TODAY: Crimea
Justice Minister Zinaida Zlatanova has argued that Bulgaria is certain to lose EU funds during the next programming period.
In a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), she suggested that the country was likely to lose EUR 200 – 500 M during the 2014-2020 programming period because the government had emphasized other priority spheres, including over the past six months.
"I would like to ask the members of the previous government to stop this media race about who will lose more money and who negotiated worse conditions under the financial framework for Bulgaria. If the colleagues from the previous government keep up the race, I think they are very likely to win," she noted....
For once, politicians are not to blame. Drawing up such programs so as to get the maximum share of the funds available, and designing projects to utilize those funds is the task of civil servants and business, and should run with a minimum of political oversight. Which shows that not only politics is in a mess, but also the professional part of government, the permanent staff in the ministries.
the fish stinks from the head. The poor state of the professional staff in some ministries is a result of the decision of politicians. Most civil servants working in a responsible position in a ministry know that they will deposed of as soon as a new government comes in, who will bring in their clients, friends, family members and business partners to occupy positions for which they simply have no qualification. Another reason for the lack of absorption of EU funds is that in the budgeting process the government usually doesn't provide the necessary co-funding. Without budgetary committments from the government, no EU funding, that's at least true for most EU programmes. But for most ministers it is more important to provide all directors with the newest and most expensive SUV and to spend most of the remaining money in trips and "conferences" abroad instead of reserving budget for real activities.
So the situation is even worse than I thought. My impression was that the administration was in such a sorry state because the upper ranks were still mostly fossils from the old regime, who were not selected for potential and competence but for loyalty and uncritical attitude (and who often have no language but Russian). Of course, we all know the "spoils" system in the US, but al least that has a certain transparency. BG runs an very dirty version.
By and by we can write the program for a new party. Chapter x, "professionalization of the civil service". A seperate department for the civil service, under a (junior-) minister, for recruiting, training and appointment of all civil servants, vacant posts to be filled not by the minister of the department concerned but on proposal of the minister for HM. As far as I can remember, it works like that in Britain, and in Holland something comparable is under way. Senior personnel move between ministries after 4 or 5 years. Such a system would make the civil service into a kind of "fourth power", but at least there would be continuity and a civil servant might stand up to his political boss - and be les sensitive to pressure and/or bribes.
Interesting what Rene Boesten said in this interview a few years ago about how the ministries work http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=112562
I also get the impression that the young entry-level experts in the ministries are doing their best, but are not supported by their management.
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