The Minister for the Civil Service and Administrative Reform, Dan Kersch, opened the 8th European Quality Conference (8QC) on 1 October 2015 held at the University of Luxembourg, Belval.
Convened by the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 and 2 October 2015, in collaboration with the European Public Administration Network (EUPAN ) and the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), the Quality Conference is part of the cycle of conferences initiated by EUPAN in 2000 to offer the European public sector a platform to share experience and best practices. The conference focused on strengthening public administration capacity to cope with current and future challenges marked by economic crisis and consequent budgetary constraints.
During the opening speech, Minister Dan Kersch observed that with regard to the issue of sharing and discussing best practices, the "Quality conferences", which are a regular and prominent highlight of the activities of the informal cooperation of European public administrations in the EUPAN network, "have acquired a strong reputation among practitioners of Public Administration". "The involvement of the members of the network at different stages of the preparation of the conference, the number of collected best practices, the presence of high-profile key-note speakers, and above all, your numerous presence give me the insurance that everything is in place for a successful event", he said to participants.
In his speech, Dan Kersch noted that the beginning of the financial crisis in autumn 2008 marked "a fundamental change" of political and economic priorities of Member States. Although for the public sector, budgetary constraints became a "major issue", the Minister for Civil Service considered that at the same time, it appeared that the position of the public sector as a "key element for institutional stability, social cohesion and inclusion as well as quality of public service" became more and more important.
"Today, budgetary constraints remain on the agenda, but the role of the public sector is not considered only in terms of expenses", explained Dan Kersch, who noted that the Public sector has "reached the status of a global actor for better services for the citizens and innovative solutions for effective service provisions". The Minister took the view that the new expectations arising in this context with regard to civil services prove that strengthening public administration capacity is "at the core of the political agendas".
As a former mayor of a town of nearly 7,000 inhabitants, Dan Kersch stated in that regard that he is "particularly aware of the importance of equal access to public services, of citizen oriented solutions, but at the same time, of motivated and competent personnel serving thegeneral interest with passion and conviction". For the Minister, it is therefore "very important" that Public administration is "performant and innovative" and he welcomed the fact that the conference addresses, in particular, that issue.
The Luxembourg Minister concluded by indicating that Luxembourg is currently implementing an extensive reform programme which seeks to "strengthen strategic management, leadership and innovation capacities within the Luxembourgish Public Administration". He added that, in parallel, a bill with the aim of reducing administrative burdens in the areas of regional development, town and country planning, is in legislative procedure. This legal act is the result of cooperation of different ministerial departments, as well as consultation of stakeholders,NGOs and professionals acting in these specific areas, highlighted the Minister.