Preparing Civil Servants for EU:The Case of Poland


Meeting of Heads of Civil Service
in the Ten Candidate Countries to the European Union
Vienna - November, 10th to 12th, 1998

Poland’s EU membership is, beside NATO accession, a primary and strategic objective of the Polish Government. EU integration serves to liquidate social and civilisation backwardness, speed up economic development, modernisation and increasing competitiveness of the Polish economy on world markets. Such an attitude towards EU integration results from Polish national interests as Poland’s entry to EU structures will contribute to strengthening stability and international security in central Europe and will create conditions for a fast improvement of society living standards.

EU membership requires wide scale adjustments in all areas of activity of the state. In Poland these adjustments formally began from the moment when so-called Transition Agreement (relating mainly to trade and the obeying of competition rules) took effect on March 1st 1992 and then the Europe Agreement on association between Poland and the European Union on February 1st, 1994. However, it was already in the years 1990-1991 that many basic systemic refonns were carried out, including:

  • liberalisation of foreign trade,
  • creating basic instruments of monetary policy and credit control,
  • internal convertibility of the currency,
  • lifting price control,
  • legalising private enterprise,
  • starting privatisation of state property,
  • facilitating foreign investment and capital flow,
  • relaxing employment control and introducing labour market principles (which also unfortunately resulted in unemployment), and
  • putting in order a property record and beginning restitution of nationalised property to former owners.

It is particularly important to adjust structures and personnel in the state administration to new systemic requirements, and also to a difficult and long process of negotiations and integration as well as ability to implement the adopted settlements. Appropriate structures for co-operation with the European Union began to be built in Poland at the beginning of 1991 when Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid was appointed and his Office, situated in the structure of the then Council of Ministers Office was established, under a Cabinet resolution No. 11/91 of January 26, 1991. The Commissioner s main task was to initiate adjustment processes in the Polish legislation and Polish administration. He was also a chief negotiator of the Europe Agreement on behalf of the Polish Government. Poland’s EU association, and then membership drive, constitute an important impulse for faster introduction of legal and institutional solutions consistent with the system binding in EU member states and implementing the strategy of a high and lasting economic growth.

Poland’s associated country status in the Europe Agreement covers the period of ten years, divided into stages, each of them five years long. The Europe Agreement does not foresee automatic moving from the first to the second stage. In February 1999 Poland will end the first five-year association period. A decision to move to the second stage is taken by the Association Council, which takes into account the to-date implementation of the Europe Agreement and Poland’s achievements in the process leading to the market economy system. Poland’s Government intends to apply to the Council this November to be able move to the second stage. The associated status does not determine the issue of EU membership, but it can be treated as a stage preparing Poland to full membership. One of the elements of the process of preparing and adjusting the Polish state administration to the EU, described in the Agreement, is a number of tasks connected with the Internal Market. The main tasks include:

  • Changes of administrative regulations and structures in the area of standardisation and certification,
  • Agreeing with the EU an ,Agreement on compatibility assessment" and its implementation,
  • Creating transparent public aid monitoring procedures that are compatible with community regulations, and observing anti-monopoly policy principles and strengthening institutions operating in this area,
  • Adjusting regulations on public orders to ensure free access to public tenders for parties from EU member states and spreading information on changes among those interested,
  • Preparing and putting into practice regulations on the protection of industrial property and on intellectual property protection,
  • Adjusting legal regulations in the scope of consumer protection and working out simplified procedures of raising consumer claims,
  • Putting into practice customs regulations compatible with community solutions and gradual expansion of customs infrastructure,
  • Putting into practice data protection regulations,
  • Dissemination of knowledge on the Internal Market among state and local government administration employees,
  • Familiarising judges and prosecutors with community law,
  • Adjusting and strengthening efficiency of the functioning of labour market institutions,
  • Adjusting law in the area of safety at work and the development of institutional structures responsible for obeying it,
  • Carrying out a social insurance reform,
  • Development of co-operation of police and administration of justice in fighting organised crime,
  • Strengthening the system of management and border control through infrastructure and personnel development,
  • Working out programmes and beginning the implementation of community standards in the sphere of environment protection and personnel as well as financial strengthening of environment protection services,
  • Harmonisation of law in the sphere of taxes and strengthening the government tax administration,
  • Preventing money laundering by setting up the State Financial Information Agency,
  • Adjusting requirements in the field of general statistics to EU requirements,
  • Creating an effective system of financial internal control in the state administration,
  • Preparing institutional framework in the administration to effectively use EU financial backing during the preparatory period, and after becoming a member - from Regional Funds,
  • Continuation of privatisation and restructuring of enterprises of the state sector by the state administration,
  • Putting into effect a law on civil service ensuring equal and free access of all citizens to this service.

Poland’s signing the Europe Agreement on December 16, 1991 determined the main directions of actions of the Polish authorities for the process of systemic transformation and initiated work on integration with the EU. In May, 1992 a circular was issued of the Secretary of the Council of Ministers on consulting draft legal acts prepared by the state administration organs with the Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid, and Poland’s Sejm stressed in a resolution of July 4, 1992 that conducting a political dialogue and tightening economic and cultural co-operation with the EU required appropriate actions of all state organs. On January 29, 1993 the "Programme of Actions Adjusting the Polish Economy and the Legal System to the European Union Requirements" was announced. This was a document of the Government of the Republic of Poland and it was the basis for conducting adjustment actions by individual organs of the state administration in the following years. It provided for working out or amending 130 legal acts (laws, ordinances, orders) in the years 1993-1994. In addition the programme obligated the Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid to monitor the implementation of tasks and presenting information on the progress of work in individual fields in annual reports. Despite that the Programme had a preliminary character, it contributed to making aware individual offices of the need to begin, in addition to indispensable legal activities, also broadly understood preaccession activities.

In late 1993 and early 1994 organisational units or posts for European integration began to be created in ministries and central offices of the state administration. It followed from an analysis carried out in late February and early March, 1994 by the Office of the Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid that the structure of these units is very diversified as regards their formal status, scope of competencies and personnel. In a part of the ministries a separate organisational units were established of various rank and location, with some institutions additionally appointing special teams or foundations for concrete tasks, whereas in other ministries inter-department teams made up of representatives of interested departments were appointed. Another step in the direction of strengthening and standardising structures in the state administration organs connected with European integration was a Law on organisation and the mode of work of the Cabinet and on the scope of activity of ministers of August 8, 1996, passed as part of a package of laws introducing a reform of the Government administrative and economic centre. The Law envisaged that in each ministry organisational units (departments, offices or separate posts) for European integration and Cupertino with foreign countries will be created on an obligatory basis.

In December 1994, the Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid appointed the Inter-ministerial Team for the Europe Agreement, which was to watch over the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement and monitor progress of the actions. At the same time the "Committee of the Three" (K3) was operating informally. The Committee was made up of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the then Ministry for Foreign Economic Co-operation and the Office of the Commissioner, which sought to agree positions relating to implementation of the provisions of the Europe Agreement, the functioning of the organs of the Association Council etc.

On April 8, 1994 Poland’s Government lodged an official application for European Union membership. The move followed political decisions by the European Council in Copenhagen in June, 1993 which opened the way for EU membership to countries of central and eastern Europe. The European Council said that the countries of the region could be accepted as EU members after meeting the following requirements:

  • basing the operation of the state organs on the rule of law,
  • respecting principles of democracy and observing human and ethnic minorities rights,
  • functioning of the market economy and obeying the principles of competition by enterprises and administration organs,
  • ability to assume and fulfil commitments and obligations resulting from membership, in particular achievement of objectives of political, economic and monetary union.

Assessment of draft legal acts for compatibility with EU law is done obligatorily in line with a Cabinet resolution of March 16, 1994, became a significant instrument of a proper influence on employees of ministries and central offices in the process of adjusting the law. From March 1994 (that is from the time when the Law took effect) to mid-1998 over 2,500 opinions were issued on the compatibility of drafts of various legal acts with EU law, that is acquis communautaire. In the course of the procedure established by a resolution around 50 acts were recognised as being incompatible with EU law and withdrawn from further work of the administration. On the other hand, however, weak points of the above resolution have also surfaced. It is because assessed are only newly created legal acts whereas the already existing legislation is not covered by a control mechanism with opinion on compatibility not binding for legislative organs. In addition only government draft laws are subject to control, and so a large part of new legal acts (about one/third) is excluded from assessment for compatibility. Drafts that have passed the test, are also subject to changes incompatible with EU law when they reach the Sejm, like other acts passed by parliament. In this connection, the procedure of compatibility assessment was replaced by the Law No. 13 of the Council of Ministers of February 25, 1997 Regulation of Cabinet work, which says that its scope covers draft normative acts and assumptions or theses of a draft law, in case they have to be agreed and approved by the Council of Ministers. In addition the European Integration Committee, established by a Law of August 8, 1996, has been obligated to assess compatibility with EU law of all government-sponsored draft normative acts: laws, ordinances, orders or decisions of the Government. There have not been changes until now in the Sejm standing orders, foreseeing that draft laws worked out in parliament should undergo assessment for compatibility with EU law. What stands in the way here is a controversy connected with the issue of interfering of a Government institution, that is the European Integration Committee, in decisions of sovereign parliament, especially when an opinion on compatibility would have a binding character. This situation arouses concern as over 60 percent of draft laws examined in the Polish parliament are deputy-prepared bills, that is those that are completely excluded from compatibility assessment. Deputies, aware of this dangerous loophole in the process of verification of the Polish law with that of EU, have recently proposed that deputies submitting a draft of a new law should be obliged to make a statement, supported by an appropriate expert evaluation, that it is compatible with European law. A controversial issue is who will be issuing expert evaluations: whether a special newly established cell in the Sejm Chancellery or an entitled Government organ (such as the Office of the European Integration Committee). Discussions on the issue prove that full institutional harmonising of the existing and newly created law in Poland with the existing acquis communataire is becoming more and more urgent.

Particular significance for the process of adjustments in Poland had "The White Paper on Integration of Associated Countries of Central and Eastern Europe with the EU Internal Market prepared by the European Commission and adopted at a European Council summit in Cannes in June 1995. The document recommended priorities and areas of action in adjusting law and state structures to regulations binding in individual sectors of the EU Internal Market. It is worth noting that problems connected with the Economic and Monetary Union were completely bypassed in the White Paper as the European Commission assumes that the main problem for associated states is not harmonising their legal acts with those of the EU but adapting administration apparatuses in their countries and the whole societies with EU legislation in a way that would ensure effective implementation and operation of new legal regulations.

A direct effect of announcing the White Paper was adoption by the Cabinet of a resolution No. 113/95 of November 1995, which obligated the then Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid to work out and co-ordinate the programme of adjusting the Polish law to EU legal standards. The resolution defined that acts mentioned in the White Paper are to be the basis of the schedule of work on adjusting the Polish law to EU legislation. They were included into the text of the resolution in the form of an enclosure and in this indirect way EU legal acts were for the first time included into the sphere of Poland’s legal acts, becoming a formal point of reference for legislative work of the state administration organs. On the grounds of recommendations contained in the White Paper the Polish authorities worked out a "Schedule of Actions Adapting the Polish Legal System to Recommendations of the <White Paper> of the European Commission on Integration with a EU Internal Market," which was adopted by the Cabinet on July 15, 1997. The introduction to the document points to the lack of experience of Polish civil servants in this kind of actions, limited number of people that have the necessary knowledge about integration and limited financial means to work out indispensable analyses, expert evaluations and translations. An additional difficulty were competence disputes, resulting from a different systematics of law adopted in the White Paper, compared with the binding systematics and division of chief and central organs of the state administration in Poland. The Schedule defined the tasks of 20 ministries and central offices and showed the structures and organs of the state administration responsible for preparing drafts of new legal acts and amending the currently binding regulations in accordance with EU requirements. The Schedule is one of the bases of assessment of integration processes advancement which the Polish Government is to present to the Sejm in the form of a report after the end of each subsequent year.

In mid-April of 1996 the European Commission gave to the Polish side a very detailed questionnaire, containing several hundred questions grouped in 23 topics, with a request for an answer in three months. Poland met this obligation on time, although this was a really tremendous undertaking, in terms of organisation and contents. On July 16, 1996 all answers, translated into English, in the form of 23 volumes of information of over 2,600 pages were passed on. Preparing necessary information and working out answers required a very efficient organisation of work on the part of all institutions of state administration in Poland. In this way elements of a collection of documentation indispensable in the future process of negotiation with EU were created. On the basis of these answers, supplemented later on request from the Commission, and an opinion (avis) on Polish EU membership application was drawn up. The Head of the European Commission Mr Jacques Santer, presented the opinion on July 16, 1997 at a sitting of the European Parliament. The Commission recommended that negotiations with Poland should be started and at the same time it showed the Government and the organs of state administration in Poland which fields need intensification of adjustment actions. These include in particular: restructuring and privatisation of the sectors of the economy that have not been covered by transformations as yet (for instance the steel and mining industry), modernisation of agriculture, adjustment of legal regulations in the scope of state aid and transparency of its granting, reforming the pension system and the social welfare system, natural environment protection, development of financial services and the banking sector, and also several other fields, including certain adjustments in the area of trade policy. In addition, in the scope of political criteria emphasis was put on ensuring full freedom to the press and ending procedures connected with compensations for people who lost their property during the Nazi occupation or as a result of nationalisation after World War II. Many comments of the European Commission found their expression in the already worked out and implemented governmental programmes.

In order to ensure a broader and more effective co-ordination of all action connected with Poland’s integration with EU, the Parliament established on August 8, 1996, the European Integration Committee which took over the to-date role performed by the Government Commissioner for European Integration and Foreign Aid. The move was designed to raise the importance of the office to emphasise the significance attached by the Polish Government to issues relating to EU integration. In addition to reviewing Polish laws for their consistency with EU legislation as already mentioned, primary tasks of the Committee include first of all co-ordinating and organising integration activities, initiating adjusting work in the field of legal institutions, systematic assessment of adjustment processes and co-operation with the European Commission in the area of implementing individual programme of integration requirements. The Committee is made up of a chairman, secretary and eleven members. The Committee is headed by the prime minister, and its members are ministers of foreign affairs, internal affairs and administration, economy, finances, environment protection, labour and social policy, agriculture, justice and three experts whose experience or functions can have a significant importance for the implementation of the Committee’s tasks (see chart). The first independent group of experts included: Mr Jan Kulakowski, former Poland’s Ambassador at the European Communities, who was entrusted with a function of Chief Negotiator with the European Communities, Mr Jan Truszczyhski, Poland’s Ambassador at the European Communities and Mr Jerzy Lukaszewski, former Poland’s Ambassador to France and a long-time Vice Chancellor of College d’Europe in Bruges. The meetings can additionally be attended by President of the National Bank of Poland and President of the Government Centre for Strategic Studies. The Office of the European Integration Committee was set up to service the Committee and put its decisions into effect. The Office is made up at present of 12 organisational units, including 9 content-related units and employs about 200 officials (see chart).

In January 1997 the Government adopted the "National Integration Strategy" that systematised the to-date integration activities and defined adjustment tasks in the period right before accession. The National Integration Strategy was based on four basic assumptions that had a vital importance for the negotiations preparing process:

  • Poland’s membership of EU should comprise integration in all fields,
  • integration has to enable maximalising of Poland’s economic growth pace and has to enable creating new jobs,
  • Poland’s integration with EU should be carried out in a way that would be favourable to the two sides,
  • integration entails necessary adjustment costs.

The document declares that Poland’s Government will take efforts to ensure that transition periods are few and their duration should be subject to negotiations and should not depend only on Poland’s situation but also on changes taking place in EU. In order to implement tasks included in the "National Integration Strategy" a timetable of actions was worked out, defining tasks for individual organs of state administration.

In order to uphold cohesion of the Polish legal system, despite the need of broad and deep changes, in March 1997 a Team of Experts for Harmonisation of Law was appointed as part of the European Integration Committee by its Head. It supervises the implementation of the programme, in which teams selected in a competition within the framework of tender procedures take part. The task of individual teams was to prepare in the area of a given field of law (23 fields were distinguished in line with a division comprised in the White Paper) indispensable legal changes that will in a coherent and comprehensive way lead to compatibility of the Polish law with EU legislation. Contracts also envisaged that the teams would translate appropriate legal acts. Ready studies were sent to appropriate ministries in mid-1998. In addition the Inter-ministerial Team for preparing documentation for negotiations on Poland’s EU membership has been operating at the European Integration Committee since March 1997. It is made up of 28 separate sector sub-teams and five horizontal sub-teams. Along with the Team at the Office of the European Integration Committee, a team of persons responsible for contacts with individual sub-teams and facilitating access to appropriate documentation and enabling to get necessary consultations was established. Current co-operation between secretaries of individual sector sub-teams and persons responsible for contacts considerably facilitated flow of materials and information. On July 29, 1997 Head of the European Integration Committee expanded the tasks of the team, and gave it a modified name of the Inter-ministerial Team for Preparations for Poland’s EU Membership Negotiations. The Team worked out a Report on Preparation for Accession Negotiations with EU at the end of 1997, which numbered over 2,000 pages and had a confidential character. The European Integration Committee approved it on January 29, 1998. A weak point of the Report was that it did not comprise the entirety of integration and negotiation issues and required further work. The reason for this was insufficient co-ordination of activities of sector sub-teams and the progress of work in individual fields was unequal. This is also partly a result of the fact that some sectors will not need particular negotiations as Poland is already applying European standards, and partly a result of the degree of complication of other negotiating areas. The biggest problem in the work of the Team was however the lack of sufficient funds for expert evaluations, journeys and technical equipment.

The final decision on starting negotiations with Poland was made at the European Union summit in Luxembourg, which was held on December 12 to 13 1997. In addition to Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Slovenia and Cyprus also have been invited to take part in the negotiations. The decision also included a statement that each of the candidate states will participate in integration process at its individual pace, dependent of the degree of preparedness for membership. On March 31, 1998, the first meeting of Poland’s and EU representatives was held in Brussels, beginning a long-term accession negotiation process.

In the second half of 1997 work connected with creating and preparing a statistical information base for the needs of negotiations was initiated, both in the Central Statistical Office and in individual ministries. In many cases a position of a candidate country supported by reliable and detailed statistical data can determine achieving a planned objective in negotiations. Ministries and central offices received letters of employees of the Central Statistical Office responsible for supplying and processing data from various fields and are entitled to state the need to develop some kinds of statistical research which so far were not included in the programme of research implemented by statistical offices.

Another document, updating and enriching the scope of adjustment and integration actions, is the "National Programme of Preparing for Membership in the European Union" (NPPM) (1) adopted by the European Integration Committee in May 1998. It takes into account priorities of Poland’s Government and recommendations of the European Commission included in the document "Accession Partnership" and in the above mentioned ,,Opinion of the European Commission on the Polish EU Membership Application." The NPPM was adopted by the Polish Government at its sitting on June 23, 1998. The Schedule of Actions Adjusting the Polish Law to EU Legislation, announced in August, 1998, is an enclosure to NPPM. It was agreed that in the sphere of harmonisation of the law the following regulations on EU internal market need faster adjusting:

  • in a short term: public orders, protection of personal data, competition, liberalisation of capital flow, protection of industrial and intellectual property,
  • in a medium term: telecommunications, transport (which needs serious investments), fishing, consumer protection. work safety, financial control (also in order to effectively use Structural Funds);
  • in a long term: agriculture and sanitary and veterinary requirements, environment protection (also serious investments needed).

(1) In some European Commission letters the title of this document sounds: ‘National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis" (NPAA).

At the same time the Cabinet obligated the Head of the European Integration Committee to further supplement the "National Programme" to include tasks resulting from the review of the law in the process of membership negotiations and to permanently supervise the implementation of tasks included in the NPPM. Also a possibility of updating the NPPM is envisaged, following modification of the "Accession Partnership." Such changes will be consulted with the European Commission.

At the beginning of the second quarter of 1998, individual organs of the state administration started the so-called screening that is reviewing along with the European Commission the compatibility of Polish legislation with EU law. The screening is conducted on the basis of "concordance tables." Assessment of consistency of Polish legislation, first of all concerned such fields as: industrial policy, small and medium-sized enterprises, company law, culture and audio-visual policy, telecommunications and computer technologies, education and training, security and international co-operation. Screening talks were not an element of real accession negotiations but a discussion of experts of the two sides, during which it was decided whether a given EU legal act was correctly implemented in Polish legislation and whether its putting into effect will provoke problems and of what nature. As a result of these meetings a list of Polish legal acts that need amending or adjusting was drawn up and a list of legal acts on which discussion will be necessary during negotiations. These lists are being used while preparing Polish position papers in individual fields.

A negotiating team, appointed by Prime Minister, is made up of 16 persons. It is headed by the Government Commissioner for Accession Negotiations (at present minister Mr Jan Kulakowski), and is made up of both senior government officials, including deputy ministers of foreign affairs, internal affairs and administration, communication, the Office of the European Integration Committee, the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, as well as academic experts on labour market, equal rights of women, ecology and environment protection, agriculture and other fields.

In May 1998, the Office of the European Integration Committee, in co-operation with the European Centre of Warsaw University and private legal chambers and firms (financed from the funds of Phare/SIERRA Programme), announced a Report Containing the Assessment of the Degree of Adjustment of Polish Legislation to EU Law. The report describes the effect of adjustment work conducted in Poland from May 1992 to April 1998. The main objective of the report is to present current and exhaustive information on the degree of adjustment of Polish legislation to EU law by showing the areas where the degree of the adjustment needs further harmonising work. As the first stage of negotiations consists mainly in reviewing EU legislation (screening), the analyses and conclusions contained in the document are useful material for Polish negotiators. It is also an important source for Poland’s Government information policy on the implementation of Poland’s commitments in the process of adjusting Polish legislation. The content of the Report was also presented to the European Commission.

On September 1, 1998, Poland as the first of the six candidates invited to negotiations submitted position papers in seven negotiating areas to the European Commission. As part of these papers Poland proposed only one transition period relating to liberalisation of telecommunications market.

Because the five-year period of the first stage of Poland’s association with European Communities ends in February 1999, Poland’s Government decided it would declare to EU its readiness to launch a procedure envisaged in the article 6 of the Europe Agreement, that is making decisions relating to the implementation of the second, five-year stage. The second stage of the transition period is linked with increasing the range of Poland’s duties connected with the liberalisation of regulations concerning setting up enterprises, capital flow and free movement of labour. Decision on Poland’s possible going through to the second stage of the association period will entail necessary adjusting actions in order to implement provisions of the Europe Agreement that will become effective at that time or a change of appropriate provisions of the Agreement under a decision of the Association Council.

An important element connected with adjustment work is activity connected with dissemination of EU legal acts. The European Integration Committee, within the framework of its co-ordinating function, collects translations of European legal acts and rulings of the European Tribunal of Justice, standardises them (so-called "authenticity clause") and passes them on to organs of state administration and research centres on a regular basis. The Office of the European Integration Committee created the ELTDOS database, which contains information on about 900 European legal acts, translated into Polish and information on institutions and persons in EU authorities. In addition, the Office of the European Integration Committee set the binding acquis communautaire received from the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX) in Brussels and comprising around 10,000 legal acts, against legal acts in force in Poland, which allowed to state that around 4,000 Polish legal acts are subject to adjustment process. The office plans to comprise all European legal acts in the Polish and original version in its database.

Poland’s European Union entry requires a constant process of improvement and putting into effect a strategy of integration of Polish legislation with EU regulations. To-date achievements are only an introduction to the more and more difficult and complicated tasks faced by Poland in the nearest future on the road to integration with the European Union. And it can be said with full certainty that it will be difficult to achieve a success without a well-prepared state administration. Poland’s integration with the European Union requires not only the implementation of EU legal achievements and adjusting Polish legislation to EU law but also a proper and effective functioning of state administration structures and courts after Poland’s accession to EU. This can be achieved first of all thanks to appropriate preparation in appropriate time of civil servants that are to apply this legislation.

In 1993 the European Centre was opened in Poland in Natolin as a branch of College d’Europe in Bruges. 60 civil servants have so far graduated from postgraduate stationary studies. They are leading personnel in programming integration processes. In 1997 the Office of the European Integration Committee in co-operation with the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration launched a year-long European Integration College for civil servants from which 50 students graduated so far. Also a number of specialists training is conducted by European Institute in Lodz in co-operation with European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht, Centre des Etudes Europeennes in Strasbourg and Europaeische Rechtsakademie in Trier and also by the National School of Public Administration. Over the last few years around 1,500 people annually underwent training in the scope of preparations to accession negotiations and the process of adjusting Polish law to EU legislation in various fields. Some 300 employees of various institutions of Polish central administration have so far undergone training at the Brussels-based Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office (TAIEX). In the coming years the range of training and the number of civil servants covered by them will have without doubt to rise considerably.

Appropriate preparation of civil servants to accession means not only familiarising them with appropriate legal regulations. Equally important is the knowledge of principles of functioning of the very European Union and the principles of functioning of Polish civil servants in Brussels which will be particularly important after Poland’s EU accession. In the initial period of adjusting the Polish administration to EU integration it will be most important to educate the biggest possible number of civil servants in the following fields:

  • basic knowledge about European integration and the need to introduce it,
  • decision making processes in European structures,
  • preparing negotiating teams with various European institutions,
  • methods of increasing Poland’s influence in European structures, e.g. lobbying principles and techniques,
  • knowledge of most important languages used in European structures,
  • using EU-used computer systems,
  • impact of integration on administration and society in Poland,
  • knowledge about individual countries grouped in OSCE and European Union and about organisational culture in these countries,
  • specific fields important for Poland, such as transforming the structure of agriculture, etc.

The "National Programme of Preparing to Membership in the European Union" foresees four basic areas connected with preparation of workers and structures of the Polish State administration to integration with European Communities:

  • the system of general continuous training comprising knowledge about institutions and decision taking procedures in the European Union,
  • enabling away training and practices to Polish civil servants in the institutions of EU administration and individual member states,
  • creating a database of all civil servants in accordance with standards used in EU member states to ensure fast and effective exchange of information,
  • participation of Polish institutions and state administration organs in international organisations grouping representatives of administration of EU member states to establish contact s and co-operation.

Away training of civil servants responsible for individual disciplines at appropriate European institutions should be a basic element of training as part of integration strategy. Planned is closer co-operation or participation in work of various institutions and organisations dealing with issues of civil service in Europe, as for instance the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht or International Institute of Administration Sciences in Brussels.

Acquainting Polish civil servants with their partners at Government institutions of member states, as well as the European Union Commission and establishing working links will significantly contribute to preparing civil servants of various levels to direct servicing of citizens in line with standards binding in EU member states (including ethical standards) and preparing civil servants to directly service our co-operation as part of European Union.

One of the key elements of Polish strategy on the road to preparing Polish civil service to integration is constructing a stable and professional civil service corps ensuring efficient servicing of our European co-operation and appropriate securing of our future member interests in EU. In line with a priority included in the NPPM access to civil service should be open and equal for all Poland’s citizens and work in the state administration should ensure equality and impartiality of chances of the development of professional career. The Law on civil service implemented from January 1, 1997, while upholding provisions of the Law on employees of state offices of September 16, 1982, created a situation where two different Laws of unclear mutual relations are applied to employees of the same office performing similar or identical tasks which creates the necessity to use in state offices two different pay systems, establish double disciplinary commissions etc. In practice a division into "better" civil servants and "worse" state employees was created. In addition, the to-date functioning of the Law on civil service revealed many faulty legal solutions resulting in inefficiency of the whole system with at the same time high costs of its functioning. On July 9, 1998 a draft of a new Law on civil service was approved by the Cabinet and referred to parliament. The Law introduces the principle of openness, transparency and competitiveness of recruitment to civil service, it gives a uniform status to all administration employees and strengthens stability and political neutrality of civil service by introducing terms of office at the post of Head of Civil Service. Obligation to inform about free positions in every state administration office and the dates of qualification proceedings and also announcing competitions for free managerial posts in the administration through the announcements in the "Civil Service Bulletin".

Over the last few years many actions reforming administration structures were undertaken in Poland. A part of competencies of central institutions of state administration was transferred to local administration organs. Many other tasks and duties were transferred to regional and local authorities or professional local government institutions. At present a significant and thorough reorganisation of local state administration is being carried out as part of Poland’s administrative division reform consisting in reducing the number of provinces from 49 to 16 and establishing powiat (county) and provincial local governments which will be granted considerable competencies. The reform will be introduced as of January 1, 1999 and all organisational and structural changes in state administration local government organs should be completed by the end of June 1999. Another important element of the reform in the Polish administration will be the taking effect of the Law on Government administration sectors as of January 1, 1999, in which 28 sectors were separated and described. Ministers will be responsible for the Government’s policy and strategy in individual sectors of state administration instead of the work of individual ministers and central offices as to-date. Content-related cells will be linked to a given administration sector and not to a concrete office. This will allow a big flexibility and bigger effectiveness in the Government administration. All these changes will result in certain reduction of posts in Government administration and make the work in administration, first of all on higher levels, more attractive. In effect of the reforms it will be possible to devote more attention to tasks of a strategic character because the competition boundaries between individual organs of state administration will disappear, and civil servants holding managerial posts will be much less involved in actions and decisions on a local scale. The final result of the reform of Government administration will be the construction of the structure of the institution, comparable in its efficiency, competencies and reliability to Government administrations in most European Union member states. The Polish authorities also believe that the reforms will result in higher attractiveness of work in new civil service for properly prepared and talented young people.

One of the sectors mentioned in the above mentioned Law is European integration. The Law confirmed that implementation of tasks connected with this sector of administration comes within the jurisdiction of the discussed earlier European Integration Committee, headed by the Prime Minister.

Upgrading state administration is one of priority spheres that should be covered by the Institution Building programme implemented as part of European Union assistance in the process of Poland’s preparing for EU membership. It is indispensable to adjust systems and standards of personnel management in administration to European standards, which will contribute to employment stability of employees in administration services. Implementation of the Institution Building programme will require horizontal co-ordination of individual tasks relating to the strengthening of accession process implemented as part of EU aid programmes (including training) within state administration. Establishing co-operation in personnel management and training with institutions of members’ states will open a possibility of accelerated development of civil service in Poland. Thanks to it state administration employees will be comprehensively prepared to establish co-operation with their European partners at the moment of Poland’s accession to European Union.

General continuous training of employees of Polish state administration comprising a group of civil servants made up of specialists in various fields and medium level heads engaged in fields important from the point of view of integration actions should in the period of adjusting Polish administration to EU membership comprise the following issues:

  • foreign languages (English and French) - good command of at least one language along with proficiency in EU administrative terminology,
  • EU institutions - familiarity with tasks and structures of the European Commission, EU Council (Working Groups, COREPER and Council of Ministers) and also sufficient knowledge about European Parliament and Justice Tribunal,
  • EU regulations system - familiarity with decisions of the Maastricht Treaty, European treaties and familiarity with regulations, directives, decisions and other EU legal regulations,
  • elementary introduction to Internal Market issues - elementary knowledge about on EU Internal Market and familiarity with principles of co-ordination of integration process with the Internal Market comprised in the Agenda 2000 and partnership for accession documents,
  • procedures of decision taking in Poland and in European Communities - familiarity with structures involved in Poland with integration issues and ranges of competencies of individual organs and bodies as well as knowledge about principles of decision taking in the Council of Europe and the mode of operation of the European Commission,
  • negotiations with EU organs - effective and harmonious negotiations require familiarity with procedural issues in EU (chairmanship, majority voting, minority blocking, principle of unanimity), general comprehension of political and economic interests underlying decisions of individual EU member states and familiarity with labour culture in their administrations.

As part of specialist training for individual groups of specialists working in the state administration organs the following detailed areas should be distinguished:

  • capital flow,
  • free trade and its safety,
  • competition,
  • small and medium enterprises,
  • social policy,
  • agriculture,
  • road transport,
  • railways,
  • river and sea transport,
  • air transport,
  • telecommunications and computer technologies,
  • natural environment protection,
  • financial services,
  • company law,
  • accountancy and financial auditing,
  • civil law,
  • mutual acceptance of professional qualifications,
  • intellectual and industrial property,
  • culture and audio-visual policy,
  • power industry,
  • customs issues,
  • indirect taxes,
  • consumer protection,
  • personal data protection.

In the process of adaptation to EU membership requirements an important role is also played by policy of informing the whole society about the effects of this process. Poland’s Government plans to carry out a broad information campaign in various forms, which will begin in mid-1999.

Summing up this short outline of the to-date and planned actions in the scope of preparations of the Polish state administration to adjustment and integration with European Union, it can be said that Polish civil servants systematically, year by year became involved more and more deeply and broadly in adjustment processes as part of implementation of a consistent policy of all to-date governments in office from 1990 to 1998. Knowledge about the effects of European Union accession becomes increasingly profound and widespread, and the awareness of inseparable connection of integration with future Poland’s social and economic development more and more obvious. At the same time we see that many more and more responsible tasks are still before us.

Produced by Office of Civil Service
International Co-operation Section
October 1998

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