Yes Minister: EC Vice-President speaks up against administration

img missing Many of us do know it and all of the EC commissioners know it. But until yesterday no high ranking official has ever publicly admitted it.


In an interview (in German) with German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Guenter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission said that, over the years, the power of high ranking civil servants had grown so much that today the most important political task of the commissioners has become to control the civil servants so that important decisions can still be taken by the political elected and not been traded out by civil servants amongst themselves”

…and sometimes the control gets lost. There is a continuous power struggle between the commissioners and the high ranking civil servants. And some believe that an elected commissioner is gone after five years, like a temporary squatter….

He later continues with ….my own team tells me, that they spend 80-90% of their time with internal coordination. One could, slightly exaggerated, say we spend most of our time with solving problems that would not exist without the administration…

Good thinking Guenter but we all know that inefficient bureaucracies are mostly busy with themselves. But its good to hear it from a high ranking member of the administration speaking in public.

Anyway that all reminds us too much of some episodes of 1980s top political satire Yes Minister. We would like to invite you to watch some of the episodes so that your Sir Humphreys won’t get you too easily. We know you have a gigantic task ahead to make the world’s biggest funding pot more efficient. But too often with many of these reforms a lot is said at the beginning and very little result can be seen at the end. To put it into words of “Yes Minister” ….we could always get rid off some tea ladies… or more to the point …its all about activity and very little about achievement…

Good luck Guenter and keep up the spirit in the never ending struggle…

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