Brussels, 28 September 2017
NOTE TO COMMISSIONERS
Günther OETTINGER, Budget and Human Resources
Corina CRETU, Regional Policy
Subject: Your position for a strong and effective European civil service, counteracting the perverse effects of staff reduction and the deterioration of working conditions following the statutory reforms
On behalf of all the colleagues who have spoken to us in this regard, we would like to thank you for the clarity of the position you adopted in your “Reflection paper on the future of EU finances” ( read ) :
« Finally, the sound implementation of EU policies relies on a strong and efficient European civil service. Since 2013, the EU institutions have been fulfilling their commitment to reduce their staffing level. This happened despite the addition of new responsibilities, for example in handling the refugee crisis or dealing with security threats, or in the EU delegations abroad. The future EU budget should therefore make provision for a strong European civil service, attractive to talented young people from across the Union, and capable of delivering on the priorities that result from this reflection process. Decisions on future policies and instruments should take account of the impact on human resources.
A further reduction in staff levels could jeopardise the good functioning of the EU institutions. Similarly, previous reforms have reduced salaries and increased working time and pension age. There is clearly a declining interest among young people from Member States with relatively high per capita incomes in joining the EU institutions. While working conditions may only be one factor in such decisions, the trend is clear. (p 24 « Reflection paper on the future of EU finances» )
Finally, a clear position in favour of staff! For the first time, the institution, at its highest level, recognizes the disastrous effects of statutory reforms and staff reduction.
Since 2013, the services are faced with staff reduction while assuming additional tasks and responsibilities. These irresponsible and drastic decisions to abolish and freeze posts have led to an overload of work for colleagues, and consequently to a lack of motivation among staff.
For several years, within several Directorates-General, the watchword and the real priority have been to “pay” to DG HR to whatever condition, the various taxations imposed.
In particular, the services were also subjected to the “excesses of zeal” of DG HR which operated almost exclusively with the calculator, by applying a blind method with an iron fist and by blocking not only the publication of posts and a genuine mobility of colleagues, but also their career development.
On the one hand, it is pretty clear that, in this context, all the propaganda efforts deployed by DG HR with regard to career management policy, talent management, the commitment to always put the right person in the right place, the well-being of staff, fit@work , etc., not to mention the increasingly pathetic articles of self-congratulation in “Commission en Direct”, were perceived by colleagues as real provocations. It is not surprising that in the last “Staff Survey”, only 35% of colleagues confirmed that they believed the institution was concerned with their well-being.
On the other hand, as you rightly acknowledge, it is only thanks to the dedication of staff that, despite this very difficult context, EU policies have continued to be implemented for the benefit of European citizens.
Moreover, the staff deeply appreciated your recalling that it has also been the victim of successive statutory reforms which have led to an undoubted deterioration of working conditions with regard to wages, pensions, the extension of working hours, the increase of retirement age and the wage freeze for two consecutive years…
The consequences of this thoughtless degradation, particularly for new colleagues, have led to a loss of attractiveness of the European civil service to such an extent that, as you rightly recall, it has now become very difficult to attract the interest of the best candidates, particularly in several Member States.
In view of the above, and thanking you again for the clarity of your position, we would kindly ask you:
– to oppose, with the utmost determination, any further attempt to reduce and degrade the working conditions which the Council will not fail to implement in the framework of the MFF (multiannual financial framework), in order to further penalize our staff;
– to request DG HR to abandon, once and for all, empty slogans, which have no useful effect, in order to put in place genuine policies for staff and improve working conditions and career opportunities. We do not want words, we want facts.
Facta non verba: let us make our institution a model and innovative employer by urgently reforming the personnel policy, including a genuine policy for risk prevention .
Mr J-C JUNCKER, President of the European Commission
Members of the College
M. A. ITALIANER, Secretary-General
Ms I. SOUKA, Director general DGHR