The View from the Top
Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes
This chapter outlines the responses of European governments to the recent financial crisis with special focus on cutback strategies, consolidation measures and effects of crisis on public management patterns. Applying cutbacks during the fiscal crisis was not a one-off event, but consisted of a series of stages in the majority of European countries. Among personnel cuts, hiring freeze was the most widely applied cutback measure, followed by pay freeze, pay cuts and the reduction of staff through layoffs. All European governments demonstrated a shift towards a higher degree of centralisation in decision-making which was operationalised through the extensive increase in the power of the Ministries of Finance and of organisational budget planning units, along with the general increase in centralisation of organisational decision-making. Crisis-led pressure for public administration reform was the largest in countries that were most severely hit by the crisis and had been compelled to request foreign financial assistance.
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