National public services are essential for democracy and the rule of law in the EU


The EESC advocates a set of common principles for public services in order to help Member States comply fully with democracy and the rule of law.

In an opinion adopted by the plenary assembly on 2 December, the EESC notes that public services, by ensuring equal and universal access to services to all, including vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, contribute to social progress and to a vibrant society. They can act as  crucial “automatic stabilisers” in times of crisis, which have increased in recent years in areas such as security, the economy, asylum, the environment, climate and health.

EESC rapporteur Christian Moos explained: “Public administration and services are the most important link between governments and civil society. They are key to the resilience of liberal democracy in Europe. The EU needs effective mechanisms to guarantee full respect of the rule of law and the impartiality of public administration in all Member States.”

A set of common principles

The EESC identifies a set of common principles for public services and administrations:

  • The right to good administration reinforces societal trust. Transparency of public services ensures independent oversight and contributes to the fight against corruption.
  • Public services have a protective function with regard to the rule of law. Staff working in public services must be protected so they are able to refuse to obey illegitimate service instructions.
  • Public services must ensure free access to information and remain available to everyone in person, digitalisation notwithstanding.

The EESC also suggests that public services should be interoperable at European level. Exchanges and job rotation between Member State public services should be possible. All the public services involved in allocating European funds must respect and implement public service principles. (na)

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