This article examines five ‘challenges’ facing most administrative systems across Europe. The first challenge stems from the increasingly asymmetric nature of European multilevel governance; the second challenge arises from the missed opportunity of reforming in the absence of a dominant administrative paradigm; the third challenge lies in rescuing and transforming the welfare state; the fourth challenge is concerned with making the most of the knowledge generated in the field of strategic management for strategically managing public services; the fifth challenge lies in staff (de)motivation. These challenges are pitched at very different levels: some are related to issues of public governance, some to issues of scholarly and practitioners’ collective understandings of public administration in Europe, and some to trends in the global economy, and notably the financial, economic and fiscal ‘crises’.
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