This year’s anti-bureaucratic prize goes to the Netherlands

The former Dutch journalist, senior official and the current politician on behalf of Belgium, Derk-Jan Eppink, has become the fifth laureate of the Michal Tošovský anti-bureaucratic prize. According to – Efektivní stát (Effective State) think-tank that bestows this already traditional prize, Eppink has earned this prize by his literary works Life of a European Mandarin and Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe.

In his book Life of a European Mandarin (published in 2007) Eppink describes aptly backstage of European institutions and reality of their functioning, which is miles away from the generally known schoolbook axioms, from the insider’s point of view.  Two main factors, affecting activities of the European Commission, permeate through the whole work, namely the bureaucratic culture of the staff and the political backstage struggle which - besides the Brussels policy even the international and a very strong national policy in individual member states - is reflected into.

A new book Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe, written by Eppink as the MEP already, describes inter alia seven capital sins of the EU, which the Union should get rid of, provided it wants to survive in the forthcoming decade. Eppink fittingly reveals the gaps between     the rhetoric of the European Union and the inconvenient truth. Eppink points out how the European institutional elite tries to conceal differences between their conception and the unpalatable reality by using the semantic language, long declarations and intemperate idealism. Everything culminates by the naive vision of the European elites that Europe is the source of the “great good” and the “more Europe” can be created, the happier the people will be.

The prize for the year 2010 has been awarded festively in the Senate. The appreciated Derk-Jan Eppink has exploited the festive event and presented the Czech version of his book Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe / Ohňostroj evropské byrokracie.

The anti-bureaucratic price was awarded for the first time in 2006 when it went to the President Václav Klaus for having prompted creation of a commission for the removal of bureaucratic burden of the public and business. One year later the prize went to the former Minister of Industry and Trade,  Martin Říman, who initiated amendment of the Trade Act and two years ago the prize went to the people of Ireland for having rejected the Lisbon Treaty. Mirek Topolánek, the former Prime Minister, was the last year laureate, inter alia for making the process of preparation of the governmental legislation more transparent.

The prize is awarded every year and bears the name of the tragically died Michal Tošovský, fighter of bureaucracy and one of the founders. The prize is awarded to the individual, group of people or organization for a long-time courageous attitude in the struggle against bureaucracy, for the work, action, deed or idea having significant contribution for anti-bureaucratic movement.

26 October 2010