Principles of Public Administration



The Principles of Public Administration are a comprehensive framework of standards expressing values and behaviours that citizens and businesses expect from a modern public administration. They are designed to guide the European Union (EU) enlargement and neighbourhood administrations in their reform efforts to address the shortcomings in their public administrations and meet the EU requirements on one of the “fundamentals” of the accession process.

The EU and the OECD recognise that good public governance is a crucial factor to achieve sustainable development, economic growth, competitiveness and better quality of life, as well as to address key challenges in society both today and in the future.

Politicians and public servants from transition countries can use this framework as a tool for continuous improvement of public administration systems and as a guide to develop better policies for better lives, provide high-quality and user-centred services, manage public funds efficiently, foster transparency and accountability and build citizens’ trust in public institutions.  

The Principles were developed by SIGMA at the request of the European Commission (EC). The first edition was published in 2014. This revised edition updates the framework in line with the most recent standards and practices in the EU, OECD and other international organisations. Public administrations today are expected to be more digital, open and transparent, agile, innovative and green than in 2014. They must also show greater resilience to external shocks, such as pandemics.

This new version unifies the Principles for the EU enlargement and neighbourhood regions and the scope now extends beyond central government to include regional and local levels of government, with the aim of fostering a coherent policy approach.


The structure of the 2023 edition of the Principles of Public Administration still follows the six thematic areas set out in the 2014 Enlargement Strategy:

  • strategy
  • policy development and co-ordination
  • public service and human resource management
  • organisation, accountability and oversight
  • service delivery and digitalisation
  • public financial management

The 32 Principles outline values, behaviours and outcomes, while the 270 sub‑principles provide more detailed guidance on how to achieve these results and ensure adequate administrative capacity.

A monitoring framework complements the Principles and sub-principles by defining criteria and performance benchmarks, assigning weights to the criteria and establishing corresponding indicators and sub-indicators to measure the actual implementation of reforms (how the administration performs in practice) and subsequent outcomes and impacts (how its performance impacts society).

 The Principles of Public Administration are available in the following languages:


This page contains information about the revised 2023 edition of the Principles of Public Administration. Previous editions remain available here.



Launch of the Principles of Public Administration - 2023 edition

The SIGMA Programme organised a high-level conference to launch the revised Principles of Public Administration on 6 November 2023 in Paris. The event was opened by Mathias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General and Olivér Várhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, followed by a discussion with ministers responsible for public administration from SIGMA partners.
The themes addressed at the conference were:

  • Giving renewed impetus to ongoing public governance reforms in EU candidate countries and potential candidates.
  • Helping to accelerate economic development.
  • Enhancing the wellbeing of citizens.
  • Strengthening national public governance reforms.

Photos: OECD / Andrew Wheeler



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