what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Despite technical difficulties with the NISPAcee site, I seem to have managed – thanks to the ever-helpful Jan Andruch - to meet the deadline for the delivery of my paper on the way public admin academics seem to walk around the issue of how political and consultancy systems pervert administrative reform in countries in this neighbourhood and east. Typically, when I had a version which seemed at least coherent, I came across new papers which at least need referencing - if not nudging me to a new coherence!
First I come across an important SIGMA paper whose provocative title „Can Civil Service Reforms last? suggests it shares the critical spirit of my new draft.
I had managed to work into the paper at least a reference to a good overview of the huge amount of Technical Assistance which Romania has received to improve its policy-making process – and the utter lack of its impact. I had not, however, been able to find anything about one of the favourite EC mechanisms to help develop the capacity of state bodies here in central Europe – twinning. Now I have found two – first an excellent paper on the Romanian experience of Twinning in judicial reformand a 2002 paper by Papdimitriou.
My paper (as always) takes aim at the EC – which has been tying itself in knots in recent years with all the rethinking and reorgansiation of its external aid on which it spends so many thousands of millions of our euros. One of the few people who seems able not only to make sense of all this but to contribute in a clear and original way is Simon Maxwell whose blog I have just added to this site’s links. One of his most recent posts gives a fascinating perspective on the challenge of the EU’s new External Service. And if, like me, you need to know who the hell is doing what in the new structure – have a look here
The painting is by a contemporary Romanian Eugen Raportoru - to whom I have just been introduced on Romania TVR Cultura - as a result of which I have discovered a great Romanian art blogger (see links)

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