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Reforming the Commission: between modernization and bureaucratization
Journal of European Public Policy (2008)
  • Antonis A. Ellinas, College of the Holy Cross
  • Ezra N. Suleiman, Princeton University
The article uses evidence from an original survey of 200 top Commission officials to highlight the schizophrenic nature of the Kinnock reforms. It shows that the push toward the ‘modernization’ of the Commission has been accompanied by a trend towards ‘bureaucratization’. The findings of the survey challenge the dominant view that the reform project was largely a move toward the institutional paradigm set by new public management (NPM). Based on the views of top Commission officials, the reforms can best be described as a marriage of ‘Weberian-bureaucratic’ and NPM ideas. This mix of largely incompatible reform measures resulted from the simultaneous effort to maximize the efficiency of the organization while responding to the legitimacy crisis that created demands for more accountability. The political nature of these demands suggests that it will be hard for the Barroso Commission to substantially change the turn toward bureaucratization.
  • Administrative reform,
  • European Commission,
  • Kinnock reform,
  • new public management; top management,
  • legitimacy crisis
Publication Date
Summer August, 2008
Citation Information
Antonis A. Ellinas and Ezra N. Suleiman. "Reforming the Commission: between modernization and bureaucratization" Journal of European Public Policy Vol. 15 Iss. 5 (2008)
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