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The government finance renaissance

Conversations across Europe

This report aims to provide a Europe-wide snapshot of public financial management by exploring attitudes among its leaders.

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The report is based on conversations with more than 30 government finance leaders across 19 European countries who told us about the impact of the global financial crisis on their team, their financial management reform programmes and their aspirations for the future. By sharing insight into their attitudes, the report aims to bring a new dimension to the reform discussions underway within their governments and supranational organisations.

The conversations leave no doubt that public financial management has entered a new phase. Fiscal consolidation measures, political imperatives and unprecedented public interest have put a new level of pressure on the people managing taxpayers’ money. Our interviews not only show how they have coped with that pressure, but how it has driven improvement and fuelled aspirations for the future. So while the financial crisis may have caused a multitude of damaging effects, it also triggered a period of intense reflection, development and innovation in public financial management – in other words, a renaissance.

The report identifies five shared themes that have arisen from our conversations with government finance leaders.

  • the global financial crisis triggered a renaissance in public financial management,
  • governments are focused on tax compliance rather than innovation,
  • governments are struggling to exploit their own information,
  • public sector employment restrictions are limiting the talent pool, and
  • transparency about public spending is not enough to engage the public.
The government finance renaissance
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