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New External Service – meeting the challenges

Raison d’être of the EEAS

The EEAS assists the High Representative who conducts the Union’s common foreign and security policy. The HR is in charge of proposing the development of that common policy. The EEAS helps the High Representative ensure the consistency and coordination of the Union’s external action as well as prepare policy proposals and implement them after their approval by Council. The EEAS works in cooperation with the diplomatic services of the Member States.

It is therefore essential that processes are put in place for the co-ordinated development of such policy proposals and, after their approval, for a co-ordinated implementation in all of their aspects, meaning actions undertaken by the EU as a whole (EEAS, Commission, Council and Member States when they act within the framework of these policies).

Effective communication of decisions, objectives but also of reports and policy evaluations is essential if the EU is to speak with one voice.

The EEAS is a European Civil Service, supporting the development of a highly sensitive new area of European actions. European officials are the backbone of this Public Service. NEAR will serve the interests of staff rightly concerned about their future in this new structure – everything will be done so that these interests are defended in the best possible manner.

The philosophy behind our program

bullet Defending an independent, high-quality European Civil Service. The EEAS is the diplomatic service of the EU. It has to fully respect the rules applicable to a European Public Service. This is the pre-requisite for its necessary independence in the European interest.
bullet Solidarity and non-discrimination of all EEAS staff. The coherence of staff is a major goal to be achieved, eliminating all unnecessary distinctions and petty discriminations. A common implementation on the statute across all institutions should create a common basis for all personnel in delegations regardless if they are from the EEAS or the Commission.
bullet We do not accept precarity. Contract agents should have access to internal competitions. We reject the proposal that secretaries will only be recruited as Contract agents. The situation of Local agents must be vastly improved.
bullet The EEAS is part of the European family of Institutions. This is why close contacts, in particular with the Commission, must be maintained with a view to ensuring coherence of policy objectives, proper coordination of programs and actions on the field.
bullet The EEAS is also part of the European diplomacy. Relations with national diplomatic services have to be fluid (training, secondments, …).
bullet The reform of Staff Regulation will affect everybody and may have a disproportionate effect on the EEAS. There is a need to coordinate closely the response of all trade unions from all institutions to this threat.

NEAR will fight against arbitrary decisions

The EEAS, created in the beginning of this year, is already in the middle of a screening exercise aimed at making 10% savings. This speaks volumes about the management skills of the decision-makers.

NEAR will push for a due and fair process, according to the Staff regulations:

bullet no one should be pushed aside
bullet new affectations should take into account professional skills and not be arbitrary
bullet concerned person have to be duly informed and heard before decisions are taken
bullet New system of promotion and evaluation : The EEAS management must recognize the particularities of this institution where mobility is much higher than in other institutions and where there will be a quick addition over a short time period of at least 30% of AD staff coming from MS diplomatic services.  A new system shall be devised to prevent the damaging effects of mobility on Staff’s career and to ensure a normal career path to all. We will see that the collective guaranties are applied (promotion rates) and fairly distributed without discrimination between staff coming from the Commission and staff coming from the Council.
bullet Rotation : Staff representatives should actively participate in the decision making process in order to ensure transparency and avoid arbitrary decisions by the Administration.
bullet Return to HQ (Rotation) must be properly organized as in major diplomatic services. Colleagues must be provided with posts in line with their career and skills. Returning Heads of Delegation must be reassigned in HQ management positions.

Staff coming from the Council

No discrimination in working conditions and career development. Their experience is an important asset to the EEAS.

Guaranties must be applied to avoid discrimination with their different evaluation system and attestation procedure.

Maintaining their access to the Council crèche.

A vade-mecum on the intranet should explain the main processes relating to staff administration and identify contact points, helping them in daily administrative problems.

Staff coming from the MS’ administrations

Staff coming from Member States should enjoy the same rights as EEAS Staff in all aspects of their working conditions.

END should have voting rights to the Staff committee, after 2 years.


Mitigation of the disparities in career development created by the 2004 Staff Regulations, in particular through the organization of internal competitions.

Establishing a clear career development path for EEAS staff (AD & AST), including rotation of postings abroad and in HQ, change of geographical zones.

Experience in a delegation must be an eligibility criteria for management posts.

Accelerating the pace of career advance in an objective and transparent way.

Enhancing the prestige of jobs and responsibilities of colleagues who do not hold managerial posts, but who form the very foundation of the effective functioning of the EEAS.

Ensuring the use of the list of successful candidates after certification in order to cover AD posts

Clarification of the ASTs’ career, who  should have clear career development perspectives, without artificial ceilings.

Establish an EEAS attestation procedure which permits to improve the AST’s career prospects.

Safeguarding the secretary category.

Assistants having a management role in delegation should be recognized and offered a full career growth.

Limiting forced mobility to a number of sensitive posts.

Prepare staff for future responsibilities and duties with quality training and guaranteeing better access to training.

Represent staff concerns during all the stages of the EPSO selection board and selection panels, to ensure that these kept fair and in fully transparent.

Put an end to the ‘twelve years Outside Union‘ from the status and favorize the nomination of the best-suited persons without taking care of the priority 1 or 2.

NEAR will fight for improvements to the working environment :

bullet Staff is currently frustrated by a lack of top-down communication relating to political and diplomatic orientations making the definition of Unit or personal objectives almost impossible
bullet The definition of personal objectives mimicking the practice within the Commission is not adapted to the EEAS : a new framework has to be defined
bullet Performance evaluation : the system proposed by the administration has been pasted from the Commission’s and is wholly inadequate for a diplomatic service
bullet Staff is currently frustrated by the lack of bottom-up communication, where issues reported from field are not acted upon or are totally ignored
bullet The management style should evolve towards building a true team spirit within units and enabling efficient coordination at the EEAS level
bullet Access of EEAS staff to consular/diplomatic training organized by Member States for their own staff
bullet Access to intensive non-European languages training, as part of a lifelong training program aiming at improving professional skills.
bullet Mobility should take into account the professional skills and be part of an individualized career plan, for the benefit of both the EEAS and the staff member
bullet Local Agents should have better access to relevant training, conferences, events that will improve their professional skills
bullet All staff with limited duration contracts should be informed about termination or prolongation decisions at least 6 months before the term.
bullet Access to the social interinstitutional infrastructures
bullet Respect of the safety and the standards of cleanliness of all EEAS buildings.
bullet Open space offices should not be forced upon individuals : staff members should have the right to work in a calm environment.
bullet Flexitime and work duration : the proposal by the Commission would be applicable to all institutions : it won’t fit with the particularities of the EEAS.
bullet Compulsory management training to manage a Division with staff, including harassment procedures.
bullet All forms of harassment within the service have to be fought and effectively followed up. Set up a proper process and nominate counselors.

Staff of the EEAS should have at least the same working conditions as their previous institution and not less (good point of contacts of Commission services like PMO, Social service, training unit, security service etc.)

Implementation of Human Ressources policies in Delegations

NEAR will push for improvements the following areas:

a) Full respect of Health and safety policies;

b) Best possible medical coverage of all staff in Delegations and Head Quarters; creation of an own EEAS medical service, able to deal with the specific needs of the EEAS staff working around the world and facing special risks

c) Correct implementation of Flexitime ; some Heads of Delegations actively discourage the use of flexitime policy and impose restrictions, which are not in line with HR policies. NEAR objective is to make flexi-time work in all delegations.

d) Application of parental leave to all staff in delegations

e) Monitor the proper implementation of training policies in Delegations.

f) Unmarried couples should not be bound by local law for allowances: equal benefits should be granted upon a self-declaration.

NEAR will demand a transparent promotion and evaluation process in the line with annex II of the statute, meaning 85% of the personnel should have a normal career

Management positions in Delegations should be recognized as ‘prior management experience’ for accessing to management posts in HQ.

Administration sections in Delegations are overburdened and would enjoy real and adequate support from HQ. They should be properly staffed and expertise needed for the requested tasks should be recognised by the creation of AL Group 1 posts. HoA having been certified should be able to stay on an AD post.

Security in delegation should be treated seriously. LSO should have access to more training, the training programme being adapted to local circumstances (petty criminality, urban violence, ).

Ensure the follow-up of the MDR/A.40 Infrastructure division reports onSafety and Health in Delegations. Offer support to HoA for writing and managing the call for tenders aiming at revamping the offices.

Foresee a budget for CP members who have to visit delegations, as part of their duties.

Building a true European Public Service spirit

NEAR will push for building a common identity where all EEAS staff will enjoy equality of chances.

bullet Promotions : career promotions should be tackled with : it is not acceptable to block 2/3 of the careers as a result of higher posts being reserved
bullet Defining and implementing a common career structure notwithstanding the professional origin of individuals
bullet Favoring internal promotion, with a view to allowing a fair career progression to all EEAS staff
bullet Asking for an even quota policy where the repartition between Commission staff, Council staff, National diplomats is spread across the whole structure rather than some of them being concentrated at the upper levels of the hierarchy
bullet Organizing systematic mobility or secondments of EEAS staff to national diplomatic services, Commission (in particular within the ex-RELEX family) and Council services with a view to creating eventually a common spirit amongst all who serve the European Diplomatic function.
bullet Granting a European diplomatic passport to all EEAS Statutory Staff

Unite forces with other institutions

bullet Unite forces and create synergies both in HQ and in delegations with colleagues who stayed in the Commission RELEX family – be it at Trade Union level and/or statutory level.
bullet Unite forces at interinstitutional level. Many issues – salary adaptations, working environment, 2013 reform … are common to us all.

NEAR will ask for rules aiming at reinforcing a common Public Service spirit :

bullet Having had a successful and meaningful experience in delegations should be an advantage for getting access to management posts in HQ
bullet Careers should not be affected by the consequences of a Member State action or inaction. In particular, security clearances should be granted within 4 months and, in case of rejection, the Member State should offer explanatory motivation to the EEAS Management.

Contract Agents

NEAR will advocate and support any initiative pursuing improvements in the following critical matters:

Career structure:

Current recruitment and employment rules for posts in delegations do not foresee any career development perspective, prohibit reassignments to HQ, lack a rotation mechanism, deny access to internal competitions and establish a disputable reclassification procedure. In this respect, NEAR intends to battle for a modification to the staff regulations and/or their implementing provisions.

Professional tasks and responsibilities:

In order to clarify the current ambiguous instructions regarding grading, tasks and responsibilities NEAR will demand for an unequivocal re-definition of professional requirements, tasks and responsibilities. Such an exercise will also include a steady follow-up on the disputes regarding equal work – equal pay, and permanent contracts for permanent posts.

Rotation and work in HQ:

NEAR considers negotiations on the rotation policy for CA an absolute priority. The whole exercise may become unmanageable given that currently EEAS CAs cannot be posted to HQ. It is necessary to re-negotiate the regulations in this respect. Access to internal competitions must also be allowed. Recruitment grades for Delegation posts must be identical to recruitment grades applied to posts in HQ.

Equally, Contract Agents, like Officials, should also be eligible for secondments to the Section and trade unions and need greater representation as they look set to become more numerous in Delegations in the future.

Improve rapidity and quality of the union’s assistance in terms of legal, technical and arbitration advice

Until now, staff in delegations did not have the same access to legal support and advice as their colleagues in HQ. NEAR will push that all possible means to defend staff in delegations including legal support at central and local level are explored.

NEAR will quickly react to your requests and provide access to the legal services of the trade unions. Each NEAR candidate is an expert in one or several staff-related matters which assures the union’s capacity to provide quality service to all categories of staff.

We see you as our clients and we like to help and support you where needed.

NEAR will push for concrete actions aiming at developing a common identity but also at making economic quick-wins and reasonable use of the European tax payers money:

bullet Avoiding overlapping, incoherence or duplication between the EEAS and Commission’s procedures and programs
bullet Establishing efficient coordination structures
bullet Avoiding duplications or inequalities between EEAS and Commission Staff in delegations, such as establishing common processes for medical benefits
bullet Designing processes for speeding up the allocation of some benefits (medical expenses, education allowances) which are currently suffering from intolerable delays, possibly including the set-up of a local focal point for these administrative issues and an imprest fund.

Staff coming from the Commission

Implementing the Right of Return of the Staff from the Commission, during two years, as already agreed.

Local Agents

Improvement of the working conditions for Local Agents. NEAR fixes as its priorities:

bullet revisions of the grading in terms of reduction of groups and steps;
bullet re-evaluation of the nature of tasks attributed to local agents in particular in administrative jobs, information sections and in groups III and IV. Local Agents Group IV working as secretaries in reality very often perform the same tasks as Local Agents Group III. The same concerns Group III LAs working in C&F as accountants and procurement officers who are doing the same tasks as Group II;
bullet a fair and transparent system of evaluation and promotion/reclassification must be introduced for LAs.

Provident Fund

For the coming period, NEAR will ensure that the Administration provides better financial arrangements for the existing Provident Fund.

Medical Insurance Scheme

Medical insurance Scheme must be improved, in particular:

bullet ceilings for medical expenses must be adjusted to reflect adequate the country context;
bullet medical coverage must cover all countries, not only the country of employment, or neighbouring ones;
bullet medical coverage after retirement must be introduced.

Proper pension and invalidity coverage

Pension and invalidity scheme must be introduced for LAs. Political commitments of the Commission must be fulfilled. NEAR will use all means at its disposal to turn political declarations into reality.

Pensions for Local Agents : Transform the lump sum paid at the end of the service in a monthly installment and pay the remaining capital to the family at the death of the beneficiary.

Application of the new Method for salary adjustment

The old Method was a big step forward in bringing systemic changes to the key exercise. The new one is a further step in the right direction. Though not perfect – and one can hardly expect to develop a single method that will be perfect for more than 130 delegations all at once – the new Method is now agreed, and NEAR will fight to have it in place as quickly as possible and implemented in accordance with the agreed rules.


Staff in delegations still do not have appropriate means that would allow them to work effectively as staff representatives. Such effectiveness requires permanent involvement of the elected representatives in the daily work of the trade unions and the CCP.

Local agents, representing over10% of EEAS staff and 60% of Commission staff in delegations, should be better represented. Therefore, in order to better perform their duties, elected Local Agents should be seconded to Brussels during their electoral mandate.

NEAR will provide specific training and assistance for staff representation in delegations.