Minister of Civil Service Hun Many, during his meeting with EU ambassador to Cambodia Igor Driesmans, stressed the ministry’s commitment to reforms in civil servant recruitment and the empowerment of public administration.

At the January 17 meeting, Driesmans expressed his interest in how the reforms would be carried out, according to the ministry’s social media page.

While acknowledging the EU’s contribution to Cambodia’s development over the past 30 years, both in the form of aid and technical assistance, Many highlighted the government’s commitment to reform and priority areas. 

He asserted that the ministry is highly committed and possesses the will to adhere to the vision set by the government under Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Many said the focus areas include civil servant recruitment procedures, strengthening public administration, promoting attainment, key mechanisms and priority areas for the country’s development in the short, medium and long term, as outlined in the government’s Pentagonal Strategy.

The ministry noted Driesmans’ keen interest in learning more about the government’s administrative reform and the ministry’s mission to accomplish it.

Both parties discussed at length their respective experiences in the civil service sector in Cambodia and the EU.

The ministry said the meeting would lay the groundwork for future cooperation in the sector.

Pa Chanroeun, president of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID), noted that the EU is advanced in economics, politics and democracy. 

He said the bloc has provided technical assistance to Cambodia to promote decentralisation, deconcentration and public administration reform, adding that the country could benefit from learning from the EU in these sectors to enhance its own.

“Our public administration capacity is limited, according to some studies. To achieve the goals set by the new government, it is necessary to enforce reforms in public administration and the financial system to ensure that state institutions can function smoothly,” he explained.

Chanroeun emphasised the critical nature of the reform, likening it to a train. 

“No matter how good the train looks, if the rails are in disrepair, it cannot travel fast and smooth,” he said.