[This document was requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control. It designated Mr Brian Hayes (MEP) to follow the study.] - The recent European crisis has put the issue of government efficiency high on national policy agendas. Policy measures that result in a reduction of bureaucratic slack or red tape can alleviate the trade-off between consolidation and public service provision. Since 2007 the role of the EU budget in support of administrative reforms has been strengthening, at least in formal terms. However, the extent to which the various EU budgetary instruments have encouraged public administration reforms is unclear. Against the background of the overall European approach towards public administration reforms, this study reviews the current budgetary instruments that directly or indirectly support such reforms, and analyses the coherence, EU added value and complementarities within them. Case studies on four Member States and an analysis of current networks and award initiatives to disseminate best practices complete the study. Based on extensive desk research and a set of semi-structured interviews, the analysis finds a positive but modest impact of the EU budget and existing networks on reform activity. Some of the key recommendations are to improve the consistency of Country Specific Recommendations related to administrative reforms, increase the effectiveness of the Structural Reform Support Programme, and to ensure coherence and complementarity between all EU-funded interventions as well as their monitoring and evaluation processes. As to the role of learning and policy-diffusion, the study recommends to promote focused peer-to-peer exchange among public sector managers, and to develop a more credible evaluation of public sector awards.
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