Brussels, 16 May 2018
Note for the attention of Mr Günther OETTINGER,
Commissioner in charge of Budget and Human Resources
Subject: Mediation Service
R&D attaches great importance to the mediation function within our Institution and closely monitors the functioning and results of the Mediation Service.
However, it is clear, if only by reading all the annual activity reports, that this service lacks resources and struggles to deal with all requests. In this regard, R&D has repeatedly stressed the glaring inadequacy between missions and resources.
In view of the increasing number of cases and the more and more recurrent and difficult problems encountered by colleagues, it is urgent to act so that the functioning of the Commission’s mediation service can finally become fully satisfactory and invite the other institutions to follow the good example.
News items recently revived reflection on the role and the effectiveness of the Mediation Service and led to the following observations:
1. Staff dissatisfaction with the functioning and effectiveness of the Mediation Service, which is increasingly leading to colleagues’ reluctance to use it;
2. the conclusions reached in the previous reports of the Mediation Service, noting a substantial increase in the number of cases submitted to it and the lack of means at its disposal to provide adequate answers and be fully operational;
3. the criticisms made by R&D concerning the appointmentin 2016 of the new mediator (in respect of which there is a pending case before the Court of Justice of the EU) denouncing a number of abuses including, among other things, the contempt demonstrated by DG HR towards the opinion of CSC (Le Renard Déchaîné – Mediation).
R&D, which always accompanies its critical analysis by constructive proposals to overcome the established difficulties by calling on specialists in the field, organized a conference on 12 October 2017 on the role of the Mediation Service, the independence, neutrality and confidentiality, as well as the necessary conditions for the proper functioning of the service.
On this occasion, an in-depth analysis of the concept of mediation, the role of the internal mediator of the Commission, as well as the mediation tools available to this service was carried out.
In order to overcome the indisputable difficulties identified, five concrete and operational proposals were made which reflect the best practices in this field and which are likely to finally provide our institution with a mediation service up to the expectations of our staff.
These five proposals were explained in details in our publication Le Renard Déchaîné – Réflexion sur la « Médiation » au sein des institutions européennes (only in FR) and a consultation with the staff was launched on that basis.
These proposals, which have met with the full support of our colleagues, are as follows:
1. More transparency and introduction of a parity dimension in the Mediation Service;
2. Notification to the European Ombudsman of refusal cases;
3. Provision of additional time in case of claim and possible subsequent appeal;
4. Allocation of budgetary resources to use outside accredited mediators;
5. Strengthening and enhancing conflict management skills in HR services
It is clear that all the calls addressed to both DG HR and the Mediation Service to find a solution to the problems observed were useless and only gave rise to the Administration’s ritual of complacency to confirm that “All is well in the best of worlds”. Concerning the self-congratulation exercises, the interview given by the mediator to Commission en Direct will forever remain an unforgettable feat (read more).
In these conditions, we appeal to you.
We invite you to take note of these proposals and the in-depth underlying analyses, so that they can be discussed in the framework of the social dialogue. It is urgent to act to have an efficient service, both for the functioning of the institution and for the staff.
CC: Mrs Souka, Messrs Levasseur and Roques, DG HR
Mr Fracchia and Mrs Jansens, Mediator service
Madam European Ombudsman