The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Meritocracy in public service

Peter Agius Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 09:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

Success for a country in the EU requires active MEPs capable of moulding EU laws in the EP committees but also qualified public officials to push for the national interest in European Commission and Council technical meetings, says the Former Head of European Parliament Office and MEP candidate Peter Agius

In a message from the Malta Central Bank, Agius emphasises the need for an independent public service where competence prevails over political patronage.

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The MEP candidate also points out that: ‘We are severely lagging behind in human capital investment when compared to other UE countries. In some government departments we have 200 ushers and then just 3 EU policy specialists. This is one of the main reasons for our lack of efficiency with EU funds, with applicants waiting for 18 months for a reply in some cases.

Moreover, the few public officials who dare to specialise and resist all the undue political interference are badly worse off in terms of work conditions and salary when compared with professionals of equivalent competence in the private sector.

We need the best people on the negotiating table in Brussels. Malta’s public service conditions do not allow us to attract the best qualified technocrats.

We do have talent in government departments due to several officials with a strong sense of duty and patriotism towards our country. They should however not be carrying a disproportionate burden beyond their call.

The end result is that the best qualified public officials are leaving the public service. The situation is compounded in a climate of ‘trust’ determining hierarchy and favour within certain ministries,’ Agius concluded.

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