Publication details

Ministerial advisers in central and eastern Europe : Transition belts or something else?

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Year of publication 2023
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

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Description The chapter explores arrangements for the provision of political advice across eleven central and eastern European countries that are also members of the European Union. It is argued that there is an inverse relationship between the extent of the politicisation of formally meritocratic bureaucracies and the existence of ministerial advisers as a functionally specific form of executive actors. Where ministers influence hiring and firing within civil service hierarchy, politicised civil servants serve as direct transmission belts of political preferences into the state administration: consequently, advisers play multiple roles, often mirroring the idiosyncrasies of each ministry and the short-term preferences of governing parties. Conversely, in countries with greater autonomy and technocratic bureaucracies, the functional boundaries between civil servants and political advisers are observed in practice. In countries with medium levels of politicisation, boundaries between civil servants and advisers are observed but political advisers may be appointed to various positions in public administration towards the end of their tenure. Finally, and relatedly, in the most politicized countries even basic information about ministerial advisers is not provided, which ensures there are ample opportunities for the deployment of ‘invisible’ advisers. In short, the issue of politicisation provides an important addition to the established determinants of the role and influence of advisers.
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