Transformation of the state and public administration in the context of European integration: Aspen Institute Kyiv held an online dialogue about the experience of Poland and Latvia

On July 6, Aspen Institute Kyiv held an online dialogue on the Transformation of the state and public administration in the context of European integration.

The speakers shared the experience of Poland and Latvia in the “transitional period” of these countries on their way to European integration.

Poland became a member of the EU on May 1, 2004. Since their application for the status of a European Union member, ten years and one month have passed.

Latvia has a similar story — this country applied for EU membership in 1995. Although it met the political criteria for joining the European Union and received a great deal of approval from the EU in the field of social policy in two years, Latvia became a member of the European Union on January 1, 2004.

Jan Truszczynski — former Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Government Commissioner for the negotiations on Poland’s accession to the EU — emphasized the importance of working within the country before direct accession to the EU.

We used external technical assistance and planned measures aimed at creating or making changes to certain bodies that dealt with the use of EU structural funds. Where we did not have appropriate institutions, we created them from scratch. It took a long time, but in the end, it worth it. By the time of accession, we had created a complete mechanism of appropriate quality, which could already work with the funds of the Structural Fund. Small, medium, and large businesses were aware of the new opportunities created by the EU and understood how to use them.

Edwards Kusners, former Director of the Bureau of European Integration of Latvia, noted:

It is crucial to determine the priority at the very beginning of the path of European integration because financial and human resources are limited. It is worth immediately dealing with the legislative part and understanding how politics is formed. Our office helped the determine priorities because it was a time of economic and financial crisis. Keep diplomats out of the negotiation process – that’s my first tip! Each question should be analyzed by an expert on its topic. The second tip is to have a dialogue with the business. Create an opportunity for its representatives to communicate with business partners from EU countries.

Both speakers emphasized the importance of a systematic and well-thought-out transformation of the civil service to be able to work on the approximation of legislation in various areas.

Roman Kobets, Ph.D. of Hryhorii Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, moderated the event.

The event was held within the framework of the Integrity and Governance project, which is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, as well as with the support of the EU4PAR project and the Reform Delivery Office of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.