European Instruments for Public Sector Development. Structural and Investment Funds

Scientific Essay, 2015

124 Pages




Chapter I. Concepts Outline Regarding the Public Sector, Development and European Funds
I.1. Public sector concepts and theories. Outlining the working definition
I.2. Considerations on the notion of development. The need for development in the context of the modern public sector
I.3. The European development policy. Role of the specific financial instruments
I.4. Partial conclusions 1

Chapter II. Public sector development
II.1. Theoretical considerations regarding the concept of public sector development. Theories and forms of development
II.2. Strategies regarding public sector development. Development directions and factors influencing development
II.3. Identification of theoretical models of public sector development
II.4. Partial conclusions 2

Chapter III. The Impact of the Structural and Investment Funds on Public Sector Development
III.1. The role of the European funds in public sector development. Analysis and trends
III.2. European funds management. Access and use mechanisms in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy
III.3. Development directions and challenges for Romania. Particular modalities of using the European funds, in view of the public sector development in Romania
III.4. Partial conclusions 3

Chapter IV. Assessment of the Impact of the Structural and Investment Funds on Public Sector Development
IV.1. Comparative quantitative analyses focused on SOP HRD and SOP ACD, for the purpose of underlining the impact of the European funds on public sector development
IV.2. Assessment of the impact of the structural and investment funds. Investment priorities
IV.3. Empirical assessment model of the impact of European funds on public sector development
IV.4. Case study: Local employment policies in the context of the economic crisis. Influences of the European Community structural instruments
IV.5. Partial conclusions 4

Chapter V. European Funds Management Model for the Amplification of the Impact on Public Sector Development
V.1. Management structure of the European funds at the level of the Member States
V.2. Efficient use of the European financing for development in the context of the NPM reform
V.3. Empirical assessment model of the impact of European funds on public sector development
V.4. Partial conclusions 5


Selective bibliography


The book ”European Instruments for Public Sector Development” aims to emphasize and evaluate several specific instruments used by the European Union for the development of the public sector. Among them, the authors focused on the structural and investment funds (ESI funds).

The great majority of EU member states, including Romania, have developed wide experience in accessing and implementing projects having as support the above-mentioned funds. However, the level of accessing and their impact is differentiated among the EU states, which creates the ground layer for an analysis of methods, procedures and content, meant to support a coherent approach to the improvement of the use of such funds.

The book comprises the synthesis of ampler analyses and research performed on the above-mentioned phenomenon, performed within the programs of the Doctoral School in Administrative Sciences of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (NSPSPA) in Bucharest, Romania.

Structured on five chapters, followed by conclusions and the relevant bibliography, the book ”European Instruments for Public Sector Development” offers an integrated image, theoretical and empirical, regarding public sector development and the conceptual incorporation of the EU specific instruments used for its development.

In this context, several aspects are worth mentioning:

Chapters I and II are focused on the theoretical presentation of concepts and theories regarding the public sector and its development, in the context of the European policies of economic and social development. The approach perspective is of a strategic nature, the authors attempting to integrate traditional theories and concepts within dynamic models having as basis coherent strategies with high applicability in the majority of the European states.

The same strategic vision is also kept throughout the third chapter, which has as finality both the presentation of the mechanisms in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the development directions specific for Romania. In fact, the entire book has as important objective the integration of the Romanian realities regarding public sector development in a wider, European context.

The last two chapters present comparative analyses, the empirical assessment models or the case studies being meant to offer procedural support and a novel methodology for the evaluation of the impact of structural funds of the development of the Romanian public sector. Remarkable can also be considered the model proposed for the management of the European funds, which has as objective the amplification of their impact on public sector development.

At the same time, the authors took the care, for each chapter, to present partial conclusions, meant to contribute to the creation of a more applied vision of the reader with respect to the problematic analyzed.

Through its content and manner of presentation, the book can constitute a useful methodological and explicative instrument for the approaching of a problematic as complex as that of public sector development.

Chapter I. Concepts Outline Regarding the Public Sector, Development and European Funds

I.1. Public sector concepts and theories. Outlining the working definition

The public sector represents the interface between the state and the citizens. It is that component of the notion of state that can be identified, explained and understood by every citizen, even though the own interpretation of the attributes, role, functions and range of the public sector may differ from one individual to the next. Due to its complexity, the multitude of criteria that can, and have been, used in time by the researchers in the field, and due to the permanent adaptation of the public sector to the changes in the external environment, in the specialty literature there is no consensus regarding what the public sector is, what institutions and organizations fall within this category and what criteria should be used to draw the clear line between the public and the private sector.

The traditional approach of the public sector, from the public administration perspective as single representative of the state, can be found in famous scientific works[1], which were the research basis in the field of government/governance and the study of public administration. Thus, the public sector comprises, from the institutional viewpoint, the government and the structures of public administration, and from the functional point of view, the acts committed by them and the results of those acts[2], which have as decision origin the public interest.

The economic approach to the public sector reflects, at the same time, the economic functions of the public sector (resource allocation, redistribution, supply of public goods and services[3] ), as well as the identification of the entities belonging to this sector according to the criterion of the ownership form of the entities supplying public goods and services, respectively according to their organizing form. At the same time, the public sector fulfills the role of economic life regulator[4], both through the normative acts issued in this sense and through the elaboration, adoption and implementation of the public policies that must use the public resources as efficiently as possible[5].

The managerial approach to the public sector moves the research focus from the nature and functions of the public institutions to the manner of making the decisions in those entities, to the results of the public sector and to the methods applied in its activity. The approach of the public sector through the NPM brings forth the 3E of public administration, efficiency, efficacy and economicity[6], as central values of the public sector, together with supplying high quality public services. Originating from the public sector reform, new public management uses modern managerial methods, such as management through objectives or performance management, focusing rather on results than on the process (fulfillment of the duties assigned, which have intrinsic importance), in order to better satisfy the needs of the citizen – client of public services[7]. Also, there are more significantly underlined the concepts of responsibility and authority[8].

The normative approach of the public sector is reflected in the specialty literature in two ways. On the one hand, the public sector is defined as range, functions, competences, duties etc. through normative acts, legal acts, generally specific to administrative law, but also through legislation in the other fields of life, the public sector being a public law subject, to whom are applied specific normative regulations, and, on the other hand, it plays the role of regulator, being the sector that elaborates the regulations governing the economic, social etc. life.

The public sector approach through the organizational theory starts from the idea that the organizations operating in the public sector are fundamentally different than those working in the private sector, due to the different interests that motivate them[9], as well as due to the different position of the organization managers before the shareholders and the external environment. For this reason, the functioning, operating and organizing manner of the two types of organizations is intrinsically different. Decisional transparency, procedure clarity, the intervention possibilities of the external environment, as well as the specific public sector requirements related to non-discrimination, equality and impartiality clearly differentiate this type of organizations from the ones in the private field[10].

Other approached to the public sector take into account its functional side, the ”public choice”-type theories or the neo-institutional theory.

In the classical meaning, the distinction between private and public is done on the basis of using two criteria, namely ownership and control, criteria clarified or not through specific legislation. The concept of ownership refers to the possession, use and disposal right related to tangible and intangible assets, intellectual rights etc. if ownership would be the sole criterion according to which to distinguish between the public and the private sector, public sector would include the government and public enterprises, where the state is a majority shareholder. Still, the entities where the government is a minority shareholder are also comprised in the sphere of the public sector, when the management of the respective entities or their internal policies are dictated by the government, moment when in the equation appears the concept of control. According to statisticians, control over an entity is reflected in the control exercised on its policies[11]. In this approach, an entity belongs to the public sector when the government is the one determining the general policy of that entity[12]. The second meaning places the idea of control in the sphere of the ability to control the organization’s financial policies and decisions. Thus, an entity is part of the public sector to the extent to which the government has the power to control its financial and operational policies, in view of obtaining a benefit from the activity of the respectively entity. In order for an entity to be considered in the public sector, it is necessary to cumulatively fulfill at least one condition from the power conditions category (possibility to impose the financial and operational policies of the entity) and of at least one condition from the benefits conditions category (capacity to benefit from the controlled entity).

Another criterion regarding the classification of entities as being in the public and private sector and, implicitly, the dimension and range of the respective sectors, is legislation. To a certain extent, the regulations can separate the public sector from the private, clarifying the state’s rights in the public entities, the conditions for the exercise of government control etc. Public sector can also be defined taking as criterion the nature of the decisional process. According to this criterion, public sector ”is constituted of the entirety of organizations where the political or collective decision-making process prevails, regardless of the political regime”[13] existing in the state analyzed. The criticism brought to this classification is that it excludes state enterprises from the public sector, the authors not acknowledging the quality of entrepreneur of the state. Thus, a wider criterion would be the public production criterion, according to which the public sector ”identifies with the production system of public goods and services”[14].

Recently, the public sector functions started to be used as criterion for placing an entity in the public or private environment[15]. The functionality criterion, exclusively used does not accurately distinguish between the public and the private sector, the majority of the functions performed by the public sector being also available for the private. Still, the functional approach offers an overview over the efficiency of a certain category of activities, by comparing the economic results of the respective activity, when it is performed by a public entity, respectively by a private one. Thus, following the analysis, some goods and services can be placed in the private sector, if it can supply them more efficiently from the economic viewpoint.

We partially agree with the opinion that in the public sector must be included the entities supplying public goods or services, considering that we should naturally add the entities included in the public sector by law, regardless of the activity performed.

By means of this approach, we can identify three distinct components of the public sector, namely public services (dimension which allows the inclusion of the trading companies with private capital or of the public utility entities in the wider sphere of the public sector), public-private partnership (collaboration mechanism by means of which entities in the private economic sector are included in the public sector) and human resources management (from the central and local public administration, employees from the public administration or independent authorities, formerly state-owned enterprises or trading companies with state capital).


[1] John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government (London: Parker, Son and Bourn, West Strand, 1861). Digitalizat de Google (; Woodrow Wilson, The Study of Public Administration. Essey published in 1886 and digitalized by Internet Archive in 2011; Max Weber, Economy and Society. An outline of interpretative sociology, Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1978), ( EconomyAndSociety#page/n1111/mode/2up);

[2] Public administration and, hence, the public sector, was defined by Woodrow Wilson as being ”the detailed and systematic execution of public law” (of laws). (Woodrow Wilson, The Study of Public Administration, 212);

[3] Jan-Erik Lane, The Public Sector. Concepts, Models and Approaches, 3rd Edition (SAGE Publication Ltd., 2000), 5;

[4] Magdalena Platis, Economia sectorului public, Note de curs (Bucharest: Bucharest University, 2003), 3;

[5] Cosmin Marinescu, Economia sectorului public, Note de curs (Bucharest: Academy of Economic Studies, 2008), 9;

[6] Corina Georgiana Lazăr, ”The Principle of Efficiency and Public Administration Reform. Case Study: Organizational

Change”, National and European Values of Public Administration in the Balkans, 244;

[7] Lucica Matei and Ani Matei, ”Behaviour and action: citizens vs. public services” Lucrare MPRA Nr. 26787 (2010): 8, published on November 17th, 2010, available at _ 26787.pdf; accessed on 11.08.2014);

[8] Katsamunska, ”Classical and Modern Approaches to Public Administration” Economic Alternatives, issue 1 (2012), 78;

[9] Christensen, Tom, Per Laegreid, Paul G. Roness and Kjell Arne Rovik, Organization Theory and the Public Sector. Instrument, Culture and Myth, (Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2007), 4;

[10] Christensen, Laegreid, Roness and Rovik, Organization Theory and the Public Sector, 4;

[11] Ian Lienert, ”Where Does the Public Sector End and the Private Sector Begin?” IMF Working Paper. WP/09/122: 2, Presented at the 16th Symposium of Politiques et Management Public, Florence, Italy, March 2007;

[12] Pitzer, John and Jean-Pierre Dupuis, ”The General Government and Public Sectors”, Lucrare prezentată la cea de a 5-a întâlnire a TFHPSA (Task Force on Harmonization of Public Sector Accounting), IMF, hosted by OECD, 8-10 March 2006, Paris, France, 7;

[13] Alina Profiroiu, Mihaly Hogye and Bogdan Andrei Moldovan, Economie și finanțe publice. Management financiar, (Cluj: Universitatea Babes-Bolyai, 2007), 11; Profiroiu and Profiroiu, „Cadrul de analiză a performanțelor sectorului public”, 42;

[14] A. Iancu, Bazele teoriei politicii economice, (Bucharest: All, 1998), quoted in Profiroiu and Profiroiu, ”Cadrul de analiză a performanțelor sectorului public”, 44;

[15] See Eurostat 2007 – classification of functions of government COFOG – used as statistical grouping of governmental expenses;

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European Instruments for Public Sector Development. Structural and Investment Funds
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Ani Matei (Author)Dana Mortelmans (Author), 2015, European Instruments for Public Sector Development. Structural and Investment Funds, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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