Press release
10.04.14

Administrative capacities vary immensely within the EU

Presentation of the Governance Report 2014 with Commission Vice-President Šefčovič.

Berlin, 10 April 2014 – Efficient administration is the backbone of state action as the requirements continuing to grow due to multi-level systems such as the EU, while at the same time the public sector is forced to economise. Rather than trying to make sweeping cuts in their bureaucracy, the states should take a close look at their administrative capacities and implement specific improvements. In its Governance Report 2014 the Hertie School of Governance provides a new analytic framework and an indicator system to accomplish this. Presenting the Report in Berlin today (10 April 2014), Vice-President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šefčovič said: ‘The Hertie School’s Governance Report 2014 highlights the right key challenges public administrations are facing. As these challenges are increasingly transnational, it is more important than ever that national and European administrations in the EU work closely together to find the adequate responses.’

The authors of the current issue of the Governance Report, Martin Lodge (LSE) and Kai Wegrich (Hertie School), divide the administrative capacity into four categories: 

  • Delivery capacity as the resources an administration has available for performing its tasks.
  • Regulatory capacity as the way in which the state regulates economic and social activities and in which it monitors and promotes adherence to the rules.
  • Coordination capacity as the ability to steer mediation and negotiation processes between parties involved at different administrative levels and among non-state actors.
  • Analytical capacity as the state’s ability to assess the performance of its system, anticipate future developments, and plan future demands accordingly.

Looking at such issues as broadband Internet services, care for the elderly, and the implementation of the energy turnaround, Wegrich and Lodge on the one hand use their model to reveal administrative weak spots. On the other they demonstrate the key function of administration particularly in political areas where the interplay between state and non-state actors from the worlds of business and civil society is crucial. ‘Without an administrative system that is well positioned in all four categories, even the best political concept is just a piece of paper. Social innovations such as broadband crowdfunding initiatives remain ineffectual if the administration lacks the necessary coordination capacity,’ according to Lodge and Wegrich.

Germany Ranks Last in General Framework Conditions for Start-ups

 The capacity of administrations in the EU member states varies greatly. This is the result of the indicator system developed by Piero Stanig (Hertie School) on the basis of Lodge/Wegrich’s capacity model. The results cover almost the entire range of the measuring scale in such subcategories as problem-solving and innovative capacity, self-monitoring, as well as impartiality of regulation. Consequently, a few EU states ranked even lower than some emerging economies, and the result for the group of emerging economies is more homogeneous than the one for the EU. However, the EU shows more homogeneity in the subcategories health, energy, and traffic infrastructure, as well as crime control. With respect to the four administration categories, the EU countries are more homogeneous overall in delivery and regulatory capacity than in coordination and analysis.

Germany is among the top countries in nearly all categories, both in an EU and a global comparison – with the exception of coordination capacity. What is measured in this category, among other factors, is how easy it is to found and manage a start-up – and here Germany is even at the very bottom of the European scale.

Contrary to rankings that are based on extremely aggregated data, the governance indicators of the Hertie School allow for a highly nuanced look at the administrative capacities of the individual countries. The interactive indicator system is available to experts in the academic and practical fields at www.governancereport.org. It is based on a large number of official and scholarly sources, e.g. from Eurostat, the World Bank, and the UN, as well as surveys.

About the Governance Report

The Governance Report 2014 was edited by the Hertie School of Governance and is available from Oxford University Press and in bookshops. The companion volume, The Problem-Solving Capacity of the Modern State, contains extensive articles on all topics covered by the Report. It will be released in August 2014. At www.governancereport.org you will find additional material on the Governance Report 2014, including the interactive Web application of the governance indicators.  

The annual publication spotlights specific governance challenges, presents innovative developments in this field, and offers analyses on the basis of newly developed indicators. The Governance Report especially takes the various interdependencies between countries as well as between state, business, and civil society into account. Providing application-related analyses and concrete policy suggestions, the team of scholars wants to contribute towards an explanation of and solution to current governance issues.