At a time when the future of some Council colleagues is on the line, it is obviously not the moment for division between the unions, but rather for unity so that our voice can carry weight in the crucial debate on the creation of the new European External Action Service (EEAS). R&D Conseil has committed itself to defend determinedly the interests of Council staff and to promote unity of action in response to the creation of the EEAS. Thanks to this unprecedented effort, we have been able to assemble the broadest possible platform of union partners. R&D Conseil in continuing to work on concrete proposals which have won the approval not only of the Staff Committees of the Council and the Commission, but also those of the other institutions, and of the Staff Regulations Committee. R&D has mobilised all its forces to persuade the European Parliament to defend a strong and independent European civil service.
EEAS: a complicated and painful delivery
The Treaty of Lisbon requires the setting up of European External Action Service (EEAS), to be made up of staff from the Council and the Commission and of national diplomats on secondment from the 27 Member States. This new service, complex and totally without precedent in the history of European construction, will have working together officials and other employees from multiple public authorities, with different employment statuses, particularly between European officials and national diplomats. The gestation of the EEAS is painful for all the Council (and Commission) colleagues because it is slow, uncertain and complicated. The EEAS has not yet been set up, many fundamental issues for the staff are still under construction, and already rumours are flying on arrangements for its operation and on future appointments.R&D
R&D Conseil defends staff who will join the EEAS
The interests of Council staff are central to R&D Conseil’s concerns. For this reason, we uphold the following principles:
- Equality of treatment, particularly as regards working conditions, promotions, career prospects and mobility in the EU delegations.
- A right of return to the Council and to the Commission.
- The application of the Council system for the 2011 promotions exercise.
- A transparent and equitable promotion system in the future, which takes account of the specificity and experience of Council staff.
- Real career prospects for Council staff.
R&D Conseil is concentrating its action on the essential questions:
Right of return to the Council and to the Commission
The question of the “right of return” to the Council is very sensitive. Given the limited number of posts available at the Council, R&D Conseil is calling for this right of return to be extended to the Commission. Only this measure will guarantee a real opportunity to hundreds of people from the Council to return to the European institutions if they found they were no longer interested in a career at the EEAS.
2011 promotions under the GSC system
Transitional measures must be established with regard to promotion and career progression. R&D Conseil is calling for the GSC promotion system to be applied to Council staff transferred en bloc to the EEAS, for the 2011 exercise. This involves taking into account staff reports for the years preceding transfer.
A transparent and equitable promotion system for the EEAS
For the future, R&D Council is calling for a transparent and equitable promotion system to be put in place at the EEAS so as to guarantee that the career development and specific experience of Council staff is taken into account, most especially for colleagues working in directorates and departments directly affected by transfers to the EEAS (DG E, SITCEN, Policy Unit, Support Service, etc.)
The EEAS cannot be constructed to the detriment of Council staff, but only by harnessing their skills, motivation and enthusiasm. All Council colleagues who work in the external relations field are rich in unique experience and knowledge. This experience and knowledge are indispensable to the success of the EEAS. That is why R&D Conseil is fighting for real career prospects to be offered to Council colleagues who leave for the EEAS: an equitable promotion system, transparency in access to all posts open for applications, in particular for management posts, which must not be the preserve of one or another institution or of the Member States.
An ambitious Staff Committee
On all the essential questions concerning the outlook for staff in the future EEAS, R&D Conseil and its partners at the Commission – R&D Commission and the Alliance of Free Trade Unions – have opted for a single Staff Committee for the whole of the EEAS, which will send delegates to the Commission Central Staff Committee. This Staff Committee will be tasked with guaranteeing the application of the rules relating to the creation and operation of the EEAS and the defence of the interests of the various categories of staff.
A close-knit and innovative union team
All R&D sections in all the institutions have joined forces in a federal body to create a united union team which – within the EEAS – will present itself along with its union partners as a representative to be reckoned with in discussions Ms Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs. R&D Conseil calls on the staff and its union partners to show themselves united and determined in the discussions with Ms Catherine Ashton, in order to defend the interests of the staff effectively.
Conseil has identified real priorities to ensure the defence of Council staff who aspire to join the EEAS, and intends to support their legitimate demands relating to transfers, working conditions and careers.