Subject: Creation of the European External Action Service
The Treaty of Lisbon foresees the creation of the European External Action Service.
In fact, it is a matter of taking a certain number of Civil Servants, officials and functions from the Commission to place them under the authority of the EU High Representative for External Affairs and Vice-President of the Commission.
For that to happen it is necessary, in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon, to modify a certain number of rules in the Staff Regulations for European Civil Servants.
According to our information, the College should be holding an initial debate tomorrow to set the general direction.
You will be aware that R&D, the Commission’s largest union, is very attached to building Europe and to the EU way of doing things. It is this EU way and its associated Civil Service which have allowed us to take great strides in Europe’s progress over the past fifty years.
The Single Market and the Euro are the fruit of the conjunction of a long-term political vision of the Commission, supported by a Civil Service which is independent of Member States, of an exceptional quality and is fully aware of the stakes involved in European policy-making.
The unified Staff Regulations applicable to all European Civil Servants is today the guarantor of this independence, permanence and high quality of the European public service.
R&D is currently worried by the proposal to modify the Staff Regulations, which in our opinion is not without risk in the long term. We consider that any changes should be minimal and grouped in a chapter dedicated to the EEAS rather than scattered throughout the whole of the text.
R&D would like to see the College’s political vision clearly set out and communicated to staff so that information presented to Civil Servants and officials comes more from the Commission rather than from reading about it in the press.
R&D is of the opinion that all the staff of this new service should enjoy the same Staff Regulations (permanent for the Civil Servants coming from the Commission, or temporary for staff detached from national administrations) and thus have the same rights and obligations whatever their origin. No distinction should be made between civil servants concerning their duties and their position in the staff chart.
Mr President, R&D considers that the Union is at an important turning point in its history. The EU should, we think, favour Europe’s long-term interest. R&D supports the idea of specific competitive examinations for European diplomatic careers.
Your experience and your independence reassure us for the future of Europe: the Commission must, to our mind, remain the driving force of European integration- its right of initiative is a major tool for the future. Nothing would be worse than a reduction of the Commission’s status to that of a secretariat of the Council: not only for the Commission but above all for Europe. The Commission’s right of initiative and the competence of its civil servants are major assets for the European Union.
I remain, Mr President, at your disposal for any clarification or any meeting.