Data from the COCOPS survey is used to study what drives top civil sector executives in Europe and explore international differences related to their role perceptions, assessment of what values should underlie public services, work values, and personal attitudes. Across different countries trends towards new forms of public service delivery do not mean that old roles and values steering public service have disappeared. Rather, public sector leaders balance different roles and values that at times might seem hard to combine into one. The senior civil servants in Europe seem motivated by intrinsic elements of the work and by doing good for society. This supports the focus on the public interest central in the thriving public motivation literature, acting as a counter-weight for the bureaucrat bashing that has been prominent in previous decades. Finally, the data on personal attitudes indicate a high level of entrepreneurial potential and focus on achievement.