administration, public: see administrative law.

Administrative body (1943–47) for an extensive social-welfare program for war-ravaged nations. It distributed relief supplies and services, including shelter, food, and medicine, and helped with agricultural and economic rehabilitation. Its functions were later taken over by the International Refugee Organization, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

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U.S. government agency (1933–39). It was established as part of the New Deal to reduce unemployment through the construction of highways and public buildings. Authorized by the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933) and administered by Harold Ickes, it spent about $4 billion to build schools, courthouses, city halls, public-health facilities, and roads, bridges, dams, and subways. It was gradually dismantled as the country moved to a military-industrial economy during World War II.

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(1933–35) U.S. government agency established to stimulate business recovery during the Great Depression. As part of the National Industrial Recovery Act (1933), the NRA established codes to eliminate unfair trade practices, reduce unemployment, and set minimum wages and maximum hours. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the act in 1935 because it gave quasi-legislative powers to the executive branch. Many of its provisions appeared in subsequent legislation.

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in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S. government agency established in 1958 for research and development of vehicles and activities for aeronautics and space exploration. Its goals include improving human understanding of the universe, the solar system, and Earth and establishing a permanent human presence in space. NASA, previously the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), was created largely in response to the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957. Its organization was well under way in 1961, when Pres. John F. Kennedy proposed that the U.S. put a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s (see Apollo). Later unmanned programs (e.g., Viking, Mariner, Voyager, Galileo) explored other planets and interplanetary space, and orbiting observatories (e.g., the Hubble Space Telescope) have studied the cosmos. NASA also developed and launched various satellites with Earth applications, such as Landsat and communications and weather satellites. It planned and developed the space shuttle and led the development and construction of the International Space Station.

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Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1927, it inspects, tests, approves, and sets safety standards for foods and food additives, drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and household and medical devices. It can prevent untested products from being sold and take legal action to halt the sale of undoubtedly harmful products or of products that involve a health or safety risk. Its authority is limited to interstate commerce; it cannot control prices nor directly regulate advertising except of prescription drugs and medical devices.

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New Deal program to restore U.S. agricultural prosperity during the Great Depression. Established by an act of Congress in 1933, the AAA sought to curtail farm production of certain staples, in order to raise prices. It also established the Commodity Credit Corp., to make loans to farmers and to purchase and store crops in order to maintain farm prices. The program had limited success before it was declared unconstitutional in 1936.

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The École Nationale d'Administration (ÉNA), one of the most prestigious French schools (Grandes écoles), was created in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to democratize access to high administration. It is now entrusted with the selection and initial training of senior French officials. The ENA is one of the symbols of the Republican meritocracy, offering its alumni access to high positions within the state. It has now been almost completely decentralised to Strasbourg to emphasize its European character.

The ENA produces fewer than 90 graduates every year, known as énarques. ENA is seen as the method of choice to reach the great administrative corps of the State.

ENA and politics

The main reason for entering ENA is that it has a legal quasi-monopoly over access to some of the most prestigious positions ("Catégorie A") in the French state civil service (the École polytechnique fulfills this role for other prestigious and technical positions, while some schools like the École Nationale des Impôts allow access to very specific "Catégorie A" positions). The school was created in a move to make the recruitment for various high administrative bodies more rational and democratic. By having a system solely based on academic proficiency and competitive examinations, the reasoning went, recruitment for top positions could be made more transparent, without suspicion of political or personal preference.

French law makes it relatively easy for civil servants to enter politics: civil servants who are elected or appointed to a political position do not have to resign their position in the civil service; instead, they are put in a situation of "temporary leave" known as disponibilité. If they are not re-elected or reappointed, they may ask for their reintegration into their service (see Lionel Jospin, Bruno Mégret and Philippe Séguin for examples). In addition, ENA graduates are often recruited as aides by government ministers and other politicians; this makes it easier for some of them to enter a political career. As an example, Dominique de Villepin entered politics as an appointed official, after serving as an aide to Jacques Chirac, without ever having held an elected position.

The énarques were criticized as early as the 1960s for their technocratic and arrogant ways. Young énarque Jacques Chirac was, for instance, lampooned in an album of the Asterix series. Such criticism has continued up to present times, with the énarques being accused of monopolizing positions in higher administration and politics, without having to show real efficiency. It has become a recurrent theme for many French politicians to criticize ENA, even when they are former graduate themselves.

John Kenneth Galbraith and Pierre Bourdieu have studied the way this school shapes French industry and politics. The key point is that these "enarques" profit from two main privileges: not only do they have a monopoly of the top administrative positions within the civil service, but also they can go into politics and industry without risk.

However, only a small proportion of "enarques" (around 10%) actually get involved in politics. Most ENA alumni hold neutral, technical positions in the French civil service.

ENA also participates in international Technical Assistance programs, funded by the EU or other donors.

Recruitment and exit procedures

Entrance to ENA is granted on a competitive exam at the beginning of September, which people generally take after completing studies at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (more widely known as Sciences Po). The "concours externe" exam is in two parts :
The written part includes
- an essay on public law
- an essay on the economy
- an essay on "general knowledge" (culture générale, extremely common in French competitive exams),
- a note de synthèse (summarizing 40 to 70 pages of documents) in either (at the candidate's choice) European Law and Policies (Questions Européennes) or Social Law and Policies (Questions Sociales)
- a cinquième épreuve chosen by the candidate among many different subjects ranging from mathematics to "administrative sciences" or language.

The oral exam, taken only by those with the highest marks in the written exam, consists of
- An oral examination on Public Finances
- An oral examination on International Politics (Questions Internationales)
- An oral examination either on Questions Européennes or on Questions Sociales (whichever subject the candidate did not choose on the written test)
- An oral examination to test the skill of the candidate in a foreign language.
- A physical test
- the famous 45-minute long Grand Oral during which any question can be asked, from general knowledge to very personal questions.

Results of this exam process are published by the end of December.

Other exam processes govern admission for career civil servants training themselves for high-level positions (concours interne) and for political or union leaders who need specific training (troisième concours).

ENA ranks students according to their academic merit; students are then asked, in order of decreasing merit, the service that they want to join. While the first ranked join prestigious corps like the Inspection of Finances, Conseil d'État or Cour des Comptes, and some enter national politics, many end up in middle-level administrative positions. To quote site:

In fact, although these famous alumni are the most visible, the majority are largely unknown, lead quiet and useful careers in our civil service, and don't recognise themselves in the stereotyped images about our school.

In addition, ENA offers courses for foreign students. So far, 1800 young public servants from all parts of the world have taken part in the "cycle long", which lasts 18 months. They spend part of the time studying alongside their French counterparts and part working in a Préfecture.


According to a international classification, the École nationale d'administration is the ninth higher education institutions in the world, with regard to the performance of their training programmes, based on the number of alumni among the Chief Executive Officers of the 500 leading worldwide companies..

Since its creation 60 years ago, the ENA trained 5600 French senior officials and 2600 foreigners. Some famous alumni include:

See also


External links

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