The next reorganisations and musical chairs of Directors General are an opportunity not to be missed!
R&D represents thousands of colleagues who serve the European project with commitment and dedication and who, despite everything, have not lost hope that our institution will regain its credibility with citizens.
So, we welcomed the initial positions of the new College and President Junker as a step in the right direction, both as regards defending the institution and its staff against attacks and the commitment to putting transparency and accountability at the heart of the Commission’s political action.
There is however, still more to be done! The range of announced reorganisations and Directors Generals musical chairs game which is being decided is an opportunity not to be missed to return to internal governance which meets the challenges facing the Commission.
Let us move away from the Barroso Commission …
A variety of reorganisations were implemented, a permanent vortex of musical chairs turned our institution into a real carousel, the landing-ground for an invasion of parachute drops whereby management positions were often released through ad hoc reorganizations thus depriving both the organization of services and the appointment procedures of all credibility … As far as the college is concerned, several Commissioners gave the impression of acting without any collegiality or co-ordination.R&D has never denied the essential role of political leadership of the College and has always opposed the self-referential approaches of some Directors-General who confuse their role as an official with the political mission of a Commissioner.However, under the Barroso Commission services governance has been focused on the absolutely predominant role of cabinets interfering even in the smallest administrative decisions of services.The confusion of roles and responsibilities of each player has rendered opaque both the governance of the institution and its decision making.
All calls to return to a balanced distribution of roles and responsibilities of each player have remained unanswered. The internal resistance was “discouraged” and all checks balances were erased: nobody should dare disturb the driver … the Barroso Commission had become a bus!
However, R&D has never resigned itself to accepting this distortion and progressive dismantling of the institution and proposed contributed to critical reflections carried out within the EP to highlight the limits of the internal organisation and governance of our institution during the two terms of the Barroso Commission.
This opacity in definition of roles and the cruel lack of co-ordination has been largely exacerbated by uncontrolled decentralisation, the result of the disastrous Kinnock reform which resulted in a progressive weakening of the central bodies. Under these conditions, administrative procedures were implemented by each Directorate General in a scattered way and without proper guidance, opening the door to abuses and wasting of valuable resources thus subtracted from the implementation of political tasks entrusted to our institution.
The Secretariat-General was in fact gradually reduced to a role of appendix of President’s cabinet, denied its role of guidance and arbitration vis-à-vis the DGs.
DG HR has gradually lost its role as guardian of the correct application of the Staff Regulations, and of the co-ordination of their implementation by the DGs, thereby depriving the institution of any overall vision and of any central control.
The disastrous management of AC recruitment is one example among many. Worse, in some cases – for example in the organisation of the latest competitions – DG HR services gave the impression of being reduced to mere docile puppets. Not to mention the most erratic management promotion procedures or, last but not least, the absolutely incomprehensible stubbornness over the certification exercise.
In general, since the entry into force of the Staff Regulations, the staff representatives denounced the fact that DG HR decided in all cases to apply a more restrictive interpretation of the new Staff Regulations with respect to decisions adopted by all other institutions. This, while the single set of Staff Regulations and the requirement to ensure consistent application of it was one of the defining elements of the reform proposal submitted by the Commission and is now expressly provided for in the new Staff Regulations.
Our staff does not claim privileged treatment compared to colleagues in other institutions, but cannot accept to be systematically penalised!
The first decisions of the Junker Commission are a step in the right direction…
R&D is pleased to note that the first decisions and guidance of the Juncker Commission are a step in the right direction.
In the first place, a clear division of responsibilities within the College with the co-ordinating role of the Vice-Presidents permits us to expect a more clearly political governance of our institution and its return to a collegial approach.
Secondly, concerning the organisation of services, (i) the strengthening of the role of the Secretariat-General and the willingness to return it to its mission of providing a real coordination service of the other DGs, as well as its responsibility for assisting the Vice–presidents; (ii) the centralisation of the internal audit responsibilities in the IAS and; (iii) the establishment of a Central Common Service to assist the DGs of the Research Family and to ensure a homogeneous and co-ordinated implementation of Horizon 2020… are many well-inspired approaches.
Similarly, R&D welcomes the remarks made by the First Vice President Timmermans during its meeting on March 13 with the Directors General, in particular as regards the requirement to profoundly change the governance of our institution, so that it can again assume the role assigned to it by the Treaties and meet the expectations of citizens. The First Vice President Timmermans wanted to highlight the excellence of our staff which he has had the opportunity to observe in his relations with services. He therefore invited the Directors General to involve the staff closely in the efforts and changes, so that colleagues find the meaning of their mission.
Mr President, more still can be done.