The Management of the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office, and the entity coordinators for public administration reform in BiH, deputy coordinator for public administration reform of the RS, assistant secretary of the Government of the FBiH and the coordinator of the Legislation Office – Secretariat of the Government of the BD, within the study trip organised by the Technical Assistance Team in the period January 23 – 28, 2011, visited Belgium, where they visited the Federal Public Service for Human Resources and Organisation, the Flemish Ministry for Public Administration and the Secretariat General of the Public Service of Wallonia. They also visited the Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU.  

The Public Administration Reform Coordinator, Ms. Semiha Borovac and the entity coordinators and the Public Administration Reform Coordinator in the Brčko District met Ms. Friederike Wuenschmann, policy officer in the Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Commission Directorate General for Enlargement. On that occasion, the state public administration reform coordinator, Ms. Semiha Borovac, gave a brief overview of the current condition in the area of public administration reform in BiH, she spoke of achievements so far of the PARCO, and on future steps, of which she particularly stressed:

•    Implementation of the revised Action Plan 1 by 2014

•    Draft of catalogue of public administration in BiH, which will be a significant basis for application of the Acquis Communautaire.

On the first day of the visit, the participants visited the Federal Public Service Personnel and Organization. Through discussion and presentation, the participants were acquainted with the manners of functioning of public administration and civil service in Belgium and they were presented the public administration reform at the state level, known as the Copernicus reform. This reform was aimed at creating a model state that would be a better service provider and employer. Although public administration reform in Belgium has not significantly reduced the number of employees in the civil service (about 83 000), it extremely improved efficiency and policy planning. Participants were presented also the administrative organization of Belgium, the process of adoption of laws in the system of transfer of competencies, manners of resolving disputes between the regions, the state level and the level of federal units, and mechanisms for representation of multi-layer government and its interests in the European Union.

On the second day of stay in Belgium, the participants also visited the Flemish Ministry of Public Administration, where the role of Flanders during the Belgian presidency of the European Union was presented and explained to them. Participants got familiar with the issues that are under the jurisdiction of the state, and those that are within the competence of the regions. They also saw a presentation of development and structure of the Flemish administration and management levels. The latest public administration reform that began in 2006 was aimed to provide better public administration for citizens. All thirteen areas in which reform was carried out have departments responsible for preparation of policies, for issues of monitoring and evaluation. Guests from BiH also saw presentation of manners of strategic planning and reporting, followed by ICT and e-government policies and practices (including e-procurement), regulatory management of that practice and policies related to development of stakeholder involvement and public participation.

On the third day of the visit the participants were acquainted with the mnner of work of the federal units or the entities, and they visited the Secretariat General of Public Administration of Wallonia, where they saw presentations of the institutional and administrative organization of the Walloon region, the public administration reform and division of competencies between the state level and the Walloon federal unit. There was also a discussion on the manner of financing the public administration reform and reform projects from the budget and the regional funds of the EU. Participants also visited the Walloon Parliament, where they got familiar with its work and competencies. The Civil Service of Wallonia employs about 20,000 civil servants, half of which is employed in the Walloon ministries, and the rest in other bodies of public administration.

Also, as a part of the study visit, a visit was organized to the representation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU. The host was the BiH Mission to the EU, headed by the Ambassador, Mr. Osman Topčagić. The Public Administration Reform Coordinator, Ms. Semiha Borovac presented to Mr. Topčagić the public administration reform process in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and she pointed out that the PARCO revised the Action Plan 1 of the Strategy of Public Administration Reform. By the new measures and activities of the revised AP 1, which the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina should implement by the end of 2014, the public administration should be strengthened and closer to citizens and the business community. On this occasion, she stressed that the revision of the AP1 was preceded by detailed analyses of the situation in all six areas of reform, with the assistance of the PARCO and the members of the supervisory teams. Analyses have shown that some of the measures in the Action Plan 1 are unenforceable, obsolete or outdated and new measures have been proposed, which will benefit citizens, businesses and the very administration that needs to be strengthened in order to be ready to respond to European requirements. Mr. Topčagić supported the efforts of the PARCO, stressing that more efficient public administration turned towards the citizens and the business community is extremely important for every country. Mr. Topčagić presented to the study tour participants the manner of work of our Permanent Representation to the EU, the possible future steps of BiH and the tasks which await the Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road to full membership in the European Union.