Eurobarometer: Europeans welcome EU support to reforms in the Member States
Europeans appreciate that the EU provides expertise and helps Member States in the design and implementation of reforms across wide range of policy areas. This is one of the key conclusions of a flash Eurobarometer survey conducted in April 2023, which confirms the importance and need for support offered by the Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI).
Through the TSI, the Commission provides technical support to reforms in the EU, upon request by national authorities. The TSI can also assist the Member States to design, amend, implement and revise the transformative reforms included in their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs).
How can the EU help Member States?
The survey asked Europeans in which areas Member States can benefit most from EU support to design and implement reforms. Here is what they replied:
- 42% of Europeans think that the EU could foster the exchange of good practices among Member States;
- 42% confirm the importance of EU support to Member States in managing crises, such as pandemics, natural disaster or conflicts;
- 34% consider that the EU could provide knowledge and expertise to Member States in designing and implementing reforms;
- 34% say that the EU could provide financial support to Member States‘ reforms;
- 31% believe that the EU could help to improve skills and competencies in Member States’ public administration.
Europeans want a more efficient public administration
According to the survey, public administrations in the Member States could be more effective and efficient. For example, more than 45% of citizens think that the public administration in their country is complex, burdensome and slow.
To increase confidence in their country’s public administration, Europeans think that it should be less bureaucratic (52%) and more transparent (44%) about decisions and the use of public funds. About a third of respondents think that more communication and streamlined interaction with citizens, and better skilled civil servants, would help improve trust in the public administration.
Almost half of Europeans believe that public administration should be closer to the people using different direct channels of communication, including in-person interactions, as well as provide clearer information about procedures and services. Europeans also asked for more digital services (31%) and, more user-friendly e-government services (35%).
Reforms are most needed in health and education
Europeans think that reforms are most needed in public health (56%) and education (50%). In 11 Member States, more than 60% of citizens are urging reforms of public health.
Survey confirms that the TSI provides valuable help
The outcome of this Eurobarometer survey confirms the importance of the TSI. Indeed, the TSI responds to Member States’ requests for support in the reform needs they have identified. Through the TSI, the EU provides expertise and technical support, enables and fosters exchanges of information among countries, and develops capacity in public administrations: all actions that citizens consider a role for the EU.
So far, more than 400 TSI projects – including several new projects for 2023 – have been or will be contributing to the preparation or implementation of Member States’ RRPs, including reforms to promote the capacity-building of public administrations.
The results of this survey will inform the implementation of TSI reform projects. For example, the Public Administration Cooperation Exchange (PACE) flagship will already in 2023 support more than 300 civil servants from 18 Member States to gain exposure to good practices in other administrations, to transfer skills and build expertise. Further exchange opportunities will be at offer in 2024.
The flash Eurobarometer (526) was conducted between 3 April and 18 April 2023 through phone interviews. 25,631 respondents from the 27 EU Member States were interviewed. When replying to the questions, respondents were asked to select up to three responses from a list.
On 21 March 2023, the Commission has approved a new round of 151 projects under the TSI, to support all Member States in preparing, designing and implementing up to 326 cutting-edge reforms in 2023.
The supported projects respond to reform needs expressed by Member States that are aligned with the EU’s priorities for modern and efficient public administrations, sustainable growth strategies and resilient economies. Many reform projects are also linked to the REPowerEU Plan and their implementation through the REPowerEU chapter in the RRP.
It is part of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and builds on the success of its predecessor, the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP). Since 2017, more than 1,500 technical support projects have been implemented in all Member States with support of the TSI and the SRSP.
For More information
Country factsheets on Member States’ reform projects
TSI Annual Work Programme 2023
The opinion of citizens is of utmost importance for our work. This survey confirms that the work of the Technical Support Instrument is aligned not only with the identified needs of public administrations but also with the role and actions that citizens expect the EU to take. I am particularly happy to see that fostering the exchange of good practices among Member States is considered the most important action for the EU. This is exactly what the TSI does with multi-country and cross-regional projects and with the new Public Administration Cooperation Exchange (PACE), which allows civil servants to learn best practices from administrations in other Member States.