École nationale d'administration

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École nationale d'administration
founding 1945
Sponsorship state
place Strasbourg
country FranceFrance France
president Jean-Marc Sauvé
Students about 100 (2017)
Employee 229
Annual budget 41.65 million euros
Networks DFH
Website www.ena.fr
The École nationale d'administration (right) in Strasbourg

The École nationale d'administration ( ENA , German  National College of Administration ) is a grande école based in Strasbourg that traditionally trains the elite of French administrative officials. It was launched on October 9, 1945 by Charles de Gaulle to enable the establishment of an administration unencumbered by the Vichy past.


The founding of the ENA was part of a program to reform the French administration, led by the then General Secretary of the Parti communiste français (PCF), Maurice Thorez . The school was established in Paris, first at address 56, rue des Saint-Pères, and later at 13, rue de l'Université.

As Prime Minister, Édith Cresson , in the wake of the hitherto half-hearted efforts to decentralize, in 1992, despite considerable resistance, pushed through the transfer of the classic ENA training to Strasbourg. There they moved into the former convent of Saint-Jean (a Coming of St John ). For more than ten years, ENA ran at the same time in Paris and Strasbourg, before the relocation of the remaining ENA training institutions to Strasbourg was completed in 2005. This was accompanied by the integration of the Institut international d'administration publique (IIAP) into the ENA.

The Paris buildings were taken over by Sciences Po Paris (formerly known as Institut d'études politiques de Paris / IEP Paris). Most ENA students are Sciences Po graduates .

The French President Macron announced on April 25, 2019 that he wanted to dissolve the ENA and confirmed this in July 2019 and on April 8, 2021. It will be replaced by an Institut du service public (ISP). This should make the civil service in France "more efficient, more transparent and more benevolent"; at the same time, more applicants from less well off social classes should be attracted.


The ENA is shaped by the historical circumstances of its foundation, in particular by the spirit of those who - often coming from the Resistance - took over the reconstruction of France. Before 1945 there had been no central training center for the senior French administrative officials. In order to make access to the ENA as fair and transparent as possible, a rigorous concours was introduced as an admission procedure. Of around 3,000 applicants each year, 120 pass the strict selection process. Many of the foreign students at ENA are Germans who have received a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) . The ENA cooperates with several foreign universities; Cooperation partners in Germany are the Federal Academy for Public Administration (BAKÖV), the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer , the University of Potsdam and the Baden-Württemberg Management Academy .


The ENA's task is to provide future senior administrative officials with interdisciplinary training. The total duration of the training is 24 months. School time is divided into three modules: “Europe” module with a duration of 27 weeks, 17 weeks of which in the form of an internship in European and international institutions; “Territoire” module lasting 33 weeks, including 22 weeks internship in a prefecture or regional administration; Module “Gestion et management publics” (administration and management), 27 weeks, of which 15 weeks internship in a company.

The goals of the study phase, which consists of case studies, group and individual work, are

  • the deepening of knowledge of law, economics as well as European and international topics
  • teaching administrative techniques (e.g. writing legal texts, public accounting, management, staff management, negotiation techniques, languages, IT)
  • developing the ability to conduct research in administrative sciences.


French ENA graduates must work in the French civil service for at least ten years after graduation. Many “enarchs” begin their service at the Conseil d'État , the Court of Auditors or in French ministries. Some sign up for diplomatic service . While entry and retention in the civil service are guaranteed after passing the ENA selection process, the acquisition of lucrative posts at the beginning of the civil service career depends crucially on the classement achieved in the final examination.

Most of the top French politicians started their careers as ENA graduates. All previous enarchs , d. H. ENA graduates (approx. 5600 from its foundation to 2007) are listed in the "annuaire" directory together with foreign ENA graduates. Each graduate class chooses a name with which, for example, a specific person is honored. The graduates are later referred to as members of the Nelson Mandela doctorate, for example . Alumni associations such as the Association des anciens élèves de l'ENA (AAEENA) in Paris and the Society of German Former ENA Students e. V. have joined forces with other foreign ENA alumni associations to form a Confédération .

The best-known graduates include (sorted by doctorate):

Promotion France combattante (1947)

Promotion Union française (1948)

Promotion Europe (1951)

Promotion France-Afrique (1957)

PhD 18 juin (1958)

Doctorate Vauban (1959)

PhD Alexis de Tocqueville (1960)

PhD Stendhal (1965)

Doctorate in Montesquieu (1966)

Doctorate Marcel Proust (1967)

PhD Thomas More (1971)

Doctorate Charles de Gaulle (1972)

Doctorate François Rabelais (1973)

Doctorate Michel de L'Hospital (1979)

  • Ronny Abraham , judge at the International Court of Justice since 2005

PhD Voltaire (1980)

Doctorate Léonard de Vinci (1985)

PhD Fernand Braudel (1987)

  • Pascal Lamy , Secretary General of the WTO and former EU Commissioner

Doctorate in Liberté-Égalité-Fraternité (1989)

Doctorate Léopold Senghor (2004)

Well-known former German exchange students at ENA are Wolfgang Schuster , Michael Jansen , Andreas Kaplan , Edda Müller , Gunter Pleuger , Reinhard Schäfers , Uwe H. Schneider , Joachim Bitterlich and Hartmut Bäumer .

Criticism of the ENA

The ENA is highly regarded in France, its training is sought after, but at the same time controversial. Over the years it has been shown that the actually neutral concours produces a striking homogeneity among the student body. This can in fact lead to a narrowing of the state's ability to act, as numerous social perspectives may not be taken into account. For this reason, demands were made, not infrequently by former ENA graduates, to reform the admission regulations, the training itself and, above all, the amalgamation of the degree with an almost guaranteed access to the higher public service (via the classement ).

In response to the criticism, when the ENA moved to Strasbourg, its curriculum was revised, but this did not silence the critics, as the French leadership elite are still almost exclusively recruited from one and the same milieu, which makes up only ten percent of the population. The four-part drama Apprenticeship Years of Power was broadcast on the television channel arte , which deals in particular with these points of criticism.

In 2012, the presidential and parliamentary elections in France in May and June saw a historic change of power: for the first time since 1981 (Mitterrand) a candidate from the Parti socialiste (PS) was elected president ( François Hollande ); The PS obtained an absolute majority in both chambers of parliament ( National Assembly and Senate ). Many of the most important offices in politics and administration were newly filled, many with people who had studied at the ENA in the late 1970s and for whom Mitterrand had paved the way for state offices from 1981 onwards.

The New York Times called the ENA incestuous in 2019 due to its function as a cadre forge for people from financially wealthy parents.

Web links

Commons : École nationale d'administration  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Network. List of universities in the DFH network. In: www.dfh-ufa.org. Franco-German University, accessed on October 7, 2019 .
  2. ENA: France's formatted elite. ( Memento from November 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), blog on arte.tv, September 23, 2011, accessed on June 6, 2013
  3. Northern Ireland Another riot in Belfast. Retrieved April 9, 2021 (German).
  4. Hanna Gieffers: Rien ne va plus. In: Zeit Online. July 10, 2019, accessed April 9, 2021 .
  5. ^ A b École Nationale d'Administration: Macron dissolves French elite university , AFP, Spiegel Panorama, April 8, 2021, accessed on April 9, 2021.
  6. Julia Amalia Heyer: No more merits. Sarkozy wants to give the elite schools a quota system . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung from 23/24. January 2010
  7. sueddeutsche.de April 6, 2013: How a university clique rules France
  8. France's Ena needs a serious overhaul, not abolition. In: New York Times. Accessed April 10, 2021 .

Coordinates: 48 ° 34 ′ 51 ″  N , 7 ° 44 ′ 14.8 ″  E