Once upon a time there was an extremely miserly man, so miserly that he would not utter the word “give”. He had decided to reduce the lifestyle of the large family house that he had inherited from his parents. So he shared his complaints with his 26 brothers and sisters: “We spend far too much money on our fields and lands, and on all those cows that make too much milk!”, “We don’t need to pay for all these wizards/research staff who tell us they are inventing magic potions to guarantee us a better future!”, “Who is this Erasmus who takes our children (and our money) when they could be ploughing their furrow in the City??”, “Cohesion, cohesion: why should we give even more to people who invite themselves to our table? They should be the ones who pay!”, “Our servants are too well fed and have too many holidays!”, “Enough, enough, enough, that will do!!!” In the face of so much aggression, so much nonsense and so many lies, the head of the house took the wise decision to cut short the Christmas dinner and to delay all decisions to a later date…

No, a thousand times no, Messrs Cameron and fellow travellers! Your proposals won’t get Europe out of the crisis and “the idea of reducing the EU’s budget is totally irresponsible” (Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament). No, a thousand times no, Messrs Cameron and fellow travellers, the spending on administration in our institutions is not sumptuous and “an administration of quality and which performs properly needs to be appropriately financed ” (Mr. Schulz). As has been shown by the comparison between European and British Civil Servants published in The Daily Telegraph, the situation enjoyed by European Civil Servants is not the paradise described by David Cameron:

  EU Civil Servants UK Civil Servants
Change of purchasing power 2004->2011 -7.6% -3.2%
Salary increase 2011 0.0% (+1.7% rejected by the Council) +1.3%
Working hours per week 37.5 (reform: 40) 36
Monthly salary €1,847 – €16,919 up to 25,000€
Pension contribution 11.6% 3.5%
Rate of acquisition of pension rights 1.9% 2.3%
Normal retirement age 63 (reform: 65) 65
Earliest retirement age 55 (reform: 58) 50
Maximum pension 70% of final salary 75% of highest salary (reform 2007)

Yes, a thousand times yes, “the philosophy that underpins Europe is that States and citizens create common institutions to overcome common challenges” (Mr. Schulz).

European Civil Servants are deeply attached to this philosophy, remain vigilant and will firmly oppose any irresponsible reduction in the multi-annual financial framework!

 A Christmas Fairy Story revisited