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“It takes much more than the abolition of the ENA to succeed in reforming the State”

En announcing the abolition of the National School of Administration (ENA) [le 8 avril], the President of the Republic has expressed two deeply relevant intentions: first, the wish to bring the senior administration closer to the “field”.

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Today, in fact, the positions offered at the exit of the ENA are all located in Paris, apart from those of the prefectural and diplomacy. And many former students never leave the capital throughout their careers.

Then, and this is fundamental, Emmanuel Macron underlined the need to better enable the State to fulfill its priority functions, in the first place the protection of citizens.

It is indeed paradoxical to note that, since always, the so-called “social” ministries, health, solidarity, work, education have been neglected by the students of the ENA, being chosen, with some exceptions, by the least. well classified, which for a part do not stop trying to leave.

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Priority is given to financial functions, in the first place the financial inspectorate, and to the two bodies of magistrates, the Council of State and the Court of Auditors, whose members then serve in all the highest functions of the State. and in private companies.

Pension from exit rank

The general inspectorate of social affairs, the only inspection with that of finances to be recruited upon leaving school, makes a slight correction to this domination. Ultimately, the ENA is a classification machine, the annuity drawn from the rank of exit being worth almost until retirement.

At the initiative of the student delegation, my promotion, nearly fifty years ago, tried to move this harmful sequence. By relying on a strike of the tests, the only mechanism capable of seizing the well-oiled mechanics of the classification, it had obtained, with the support of the director of the school at the time, Pierre Racine, and despite the fierce opposition of the Director General of the Civil Service at the time, Michel Massenet, possibilities of direct assignment in the provinces outside the prefectural and some specific initiatives to promote positions in social ministries.

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This timid breach, opened in 1972-1973, had no follow-up, no promotion taking up the torch of this fight.

But to achieve the two objectives declared by the President of the Republic, it takes much more than the suppression of the ENA.

Two changes were put forward by the Head of State, which will be decisive if they are truly completed: the decompartmentalization of the senior administration and its corollary, the establishment of real interministerial management of senior officials.

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