SIGMA ministerial conference: official opening reception


The opening reception attracted many high-level participants from SIGMA’s 18 partners and many OECD Ambassadors, including some whose countries worked closely with SIGMA before becoming EU and OECD members.

Quotes from the welcome speeches:

Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD

"I can truly say that SIGMA is an ambassador of good public governance. But seeing all of you here tonight makes me realise that, in many ways, we are all ambassadors of good public governance."

Rupert Schlegelmilch, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the OECD

"SIGMA is one of the EU’s longest-running programmes, and for good reasons: the issues at hand do not go away and always have to be addressed anew, and 25 years is not much in that perspective. The consistency and persistence of SIGMA’s efforts are therefore a great asset: reform takes time, and SIGMA has the advantage of an institutional memory that often surpasses that of the Commission and its staff, in addition to having highly qualified and dedicated staff members."


Michelle d’Auray, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the OECD

“We are always afraid to say what did not work, but at the same time this is where you learn the most. 

The elements that underpin a good government are fairness; transparency and integrity; predictability and accessibility; and accountability and responsiveness. These elements are important for public administration reform and public financial management. Good controls, good value for money do not happen overnight. It takes sustained commitment, capacity and control frameworks in order to succeed.“



Irena Sodin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the OECD

“Ministers of Finance should be the guardians of public money. And here comes the bad news: as such, they are never to be particularly loved. If you are the Minister of Finance whom your people love, you should ask yourself whether you are up to the job.

Public financial management frames the way the public sector functions. We cannot seriously address any reforms unless we get the public finances right. And vice versa, we cannot get the public finances right unless we do the right reforms in the public sector. They should go hand in hand.

Public sector wages present a large part of public expenditure. Getting this right would get us a long way to have good public financial management. A sound system of wages with well-designed ranks or grades is what we should ideally be aiming for. Yet everyone working in the public system knows that efficiency in the system requires constant challenging. Hence, with reforming the system we need to deal with appropriate trade-offs between stability, predictability and efficiency.”




Related Documents