Cypriots appear largely dissatisfied by the functioning of the country’s public administration, and believe that the way forward goes through the reduction of bureaucracy, better skills for civil servants and more communication with citizens, according to the findings of a flash Eurobarometer survey on how EU citizens perceive the support provided to member states through the European Commission’s Technical Support Instrument (TSI).
Cypriot citizens also call for better interaction with public administration, as well as more user friendly digital services.
Respondents expect the EU to help Cyprus to conduct reforms through the TSI by providing financial and technical support. In a separate question, Cypriots said that reforms are primarily needed in education, public health and family, housing and social protection.
The top priority for citizens on the EU level was the reduction bureaucracy, as in Cyprus, however, their second option was transparency about decisions and the use of public fund
The flash Eurobarometer was conducted between 3 April and 18 April 2023 through phone interviews. 25,631 respondents from the 27 EU Member States (504 from Cyprus) were interviewed.
Through the TSI, the EU provides expertise and technical support, enables and fosters exchanges of information among countries, and develops capacity in public administrations, as noted in a press release.
“I am particularly happy to see that fostering the exchange of good practices among Member States is considered the most important action for the EU” Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said in a statement, pointing out that this is exactly the role played by TSI.
Call for reduced bureaucracy
Cypriots tend to be less satisfied with the functioning of the public administration than the average EU citizen. In particular, 67% consider that the public administration is slow in providing services (47% in the EU) and 38% said that public administration is not close to the citizens (29% in the EU).
At the same time, 38% of Cypriots believe that public administration employees are under-skilled, compared to 22% in the EU.
In response to a question on which improvements would increase their trust in public administration, the top three solutions chosen by Cypriots were reducing bureaucracy (62% in Cyprus, 52% in the EU), better skilled civil servants (48% in Cyprus, 30% in the EU) and more communication with citizens (43% in Cyprus, 31% in the EU).
The top priority for citizens on the EU level was the reduction bureaucracy, as in Cyprus. However, their second option was transparency about decisions and the use of public funds (44% in the EU, 37% in Cyprus). The third option was, as in Cyprus, more communication with citizens.
As to what specific measures could improve citizens' interaction with public administration, 63% of Cypriots (35% in the EU) asked for increased user frendliness of digital services, 57% (49% in the EU - the highest percentage in the EU) believe that there should be more channels to directly contact the administration, including in person, and 45% (46% in the EU) want clearer information about procedures.
Also, compared to the EU average, more Cypriots underlined the need for more digital services (43% vs. 31%) and for the creation of a central contact point for all requests to the administration (43% vs. 33%).
Cypriots expect financial and technical support for reforms
The findings also include citizens' opinions on how they believe that the EU can help their county design and implement reforms through the TSI:
- 55% of Cypriots (34% in the EU) prefer the EU to provide financial support for reforms,
- 51% of Cypriots (34% in the EU) ask that the EU bring knowledge and expertise to the design and implementation of reforms,
- 43% of Cypriots (42% in the EU) point to Member States sharing best practices,
- 40% of Cypriots (31% in the EU) see a role for the EU in efforts to improve the competences and skills in public administration,
- 31% of Cypriots (42% in the EU) expect EU to help Member States with dealing with crises (pandemics, natural disasters, conflicts),
- 26% of Cypriots (25% in the EU) say that EU level data and statistics can be used to better design reforms and
- 23% of Cypriots (21% in the EU) want the EU’s support in terms of analysing the impact of reforms.
Education, health and social protection prioritised
Cypriot citizens and EU citizens more broadly believe that reforms or actions are needed to improve institutions, structures or public services in the fields of education, public health and social protection.
Being asked to pick up to three different areas, 52% of Cypriots chose education (50% in the EU), 52% chose public health (56% in the EU) and 48% chose family, housing and social protection (35% in the EU).
The health sector was a top priority in several EU countries, with 60% or more respondents selecting this answer in 11 out of 27 Member States.
Also high up on the priorities of Cypriot citizens were migration (37% in Cyprus, 15% in the EU), green transition and energy supply (28% in Cyprus, 25% in the EU) and employment and working conditions (20% in Cyprus, 25% in the EU).
Following with smaller percentages were the financial sector (19% in Cyprus, 10% in the EU), the digitisation of public services (15% in Cyprus, 15% in the EU), support to business (11% in Cyprus, 17% in the EU) and the functioning of public institutions (7% in Cyprus, 15% in the EU).