European Civil Service in (Times of) Crisis: A Political Sociology of the Changing Power of Eurocrats

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European Civil Service in (Times of) Crisis: A Political Sociology of the Changing Power of Eurocrats
By Didier Georgakakis
Palgrave Macmillan, 2017
329 pp.

Many believe that the civil servants who manage the EU—labeled “Eurocrats” by critics—are too numerous, unaccountable, powerful, and pampered. In this book, Georgakakis debunks that myth. The population of Eurocrats (around 40,000) is no larger than the number of public servants typically employed by a major European city—and thus only five percent of the average per capita number of public employees in the EU member states. In recent years, moreover, civil-service reforms have much diminished the power and perks that Eurocrats enjoy. Ironically, the British government led the effort to impose a distinctively Anglo-Saxon bureaucratic model on Eurocrats, only to suffer criticism from Brexiteers who view the Brussels bureaucracy as a foreign imposition. More broadly, the influence of the most independent part of the EU, the European Commission, has waned relative to that of national governments, technocratic bodies, and the elected European Parliament. No wonder Eurocrats today are less idealistic than they used to be: fewer now believe that they are spearheading a grand, open-ended experiment in supranational governance. Despite its academic verbosity and occasionally awkward prose, this book details an important and overlooked transformation in how contemporary Europe is governed.

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