The new Balkans Group policy report “Public Administration Reform in Kosovo: Constant Struggle to Make It”provides an in-depth analysis of Kosovo’s decades-long journey in public administration reform, a process that has been mired in political struggles and judicial challenges from its beginnings to the present.
The report details its history and evolution, recent developments, shortcomings, and ongoing challenges. It also highlights the way forward providing a set of actions and clear recommendations to guide the Government’s approach to public administration reform.
The most recent reform package of 2019 comprised three important new laws clarifying the rules that determine the organization of the public administration: the Law on Public Officials, the Law on Salaries in the Public Sector, and the Law on Organization and Functioning of State Administration and Independent Agencies.
However, implementation of the laws has been problematic with political instability and judicial challenges putting the entire process on hold. As a result, several issues remain unaddressed, such as rampant political interference and nepotism, inadequate recruitment and human resources policies, and a lack of accountability.
The Law on Public Officials and the Law on Organization and Functioning of State Administration and Independent Agencies can be independently implemented, but still require substantial sub-legal regulatory development to ensure effective implementation. At the same time, further legislative action is required. The Law on Public Officials could benefit from some amendments to integrate the recent judicial judgment, and a new Law on Salaries in the Public Sector should come forward as soon as possible to restore the comprehensiveness of the legal framework.
Concluding the current public administration reform phase is a requirement to making the public administration more functional, as well as a benchmark for EU agendas. Several specific administrative processes need to be brought in line with the Law on General Administrative Procedure. There is plenty of room for the Government to act at the executive level; policy development remains problematic, and there are often few links between policy initiatives and actions. Budgetary planning, and especially, execution, need to improve, which will require extensive training for civil servants. Internal processes, hierarchical lines, and responsibilities still need clarification, especially regarding independent agencies and, to a large extent, local administrations. Overcoming all these issues will require moving beyond words and executing actions backed by enough resources, and constant oversight and monitoring of their effect, all of which need to be done with a political commitment that has not been present in the past.
Read the full policy report here