Brussels, 8 May 2020
Note to the attention of
Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
M. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budget and Administration
Subject: New programme allocations for the Executive Agencies: a total lack of transparency, respect for colleagues and in disregard of a resemblance of social dialogue
The whole staff representation, from both the Executive Agencies and the Commission, confirms its desire to act together in the greatest unity and denounces the exercise which has been carried out so far with a total lack of transparency, respect for colleagues and in disregard of a resemblance of social dialogue.
This, while barely a few months ago, by signing the Memorandum of Understanding with the unions, all the Directors of the agencies had confirmed their attachment to social dialogue.
The management of this file is all the more unacceptable since, among the measures envisaged, is included the closure of the CHAFEA agency, brutally announced to the staff… during a video conference via WebEx!
This, when it is a matter implying that dozens of colleagues and their families move from Luxembourg to Brussels at the risk of losing their jobs!
Moreover, this decision had been carefully kept in the utmost secrecy and even formally denied by the management of this Agency, which had widely disseminated assurances that have turned out to be utterly unfounded!
By this decision, the Commission chooses, in full confinement, to immerse its staff assigned to CHAFEA in total stress and in real psychological shock.
Without forgetting that the Commission has signed an agreement with Luxembourg, the Asselborn / Georgieva agreement, which provides for the development of CHAFEA with new programme allocations. In addition, the headquarters agreements foresee that “health care” would be assigned to Luxembourg.
It is clear that these agreements are completely ignored, despite the serious structural health crisis currently going through.
In addition, in the coming days, the new Health Programme will be approved, which would bring the budget from 420 million to 10 billion euros for the period 2021/2027. This programme is the responsibility of Health Directorate located in Luxembourg. As a result, the relocation of CHAFEA from Luxembourg to Brussels is senseless, for the same criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, coordination and proximity, set out in the Communication from the Commission of 29 April 2020.
Also, the closure of CHAFEA, decided under such conditions and without any prior analysis of the consequences on the private and professional spheres of the colleagues concerned, has deeply undermined the confidence of all staff, including those of central services in our institution, and has weakened the possibility of believing in the promises and assurances it can give.
In particular, the 3,000 colleagues from other executive agencies are now entitled to believe that their contracts could be in turn terminated automatically and under the same unacceptable terms, if in the future the Commission were to decide — just as brutally — to close one or more of these other agencies. They are also worried about the restructuring that is about to happen and that concerns them. Opacity also reigns over the fate of Commission colleagues who will be massively transferred within the agencies.
These processes are unworthy of a European institution, when the Commission constantly reminds us that staff is its main asset and that, as an employer, it should set an example in terms of respecting social dialogue and put in place staff policies, focused on respecting colleagues and preventing psychosocial risks.
More generally, considering agency staff as second category staff is the real issue. Beyond the contractual aspects, agency staff has a blocked horizon with an absence of career development perspective, horizontal — within the same agency, between agencies, with the European Commission —, or vertical, the positions of management being often reserved for officials.
Faced with such pitiful management, the whole staff representation, fully supports the steps taken by the Staff Committees of the agencies that denounced by their note addressed to President von der Leyen and Commissioner Hahn, the totally unacceptable nature of such procedures, the total lack of social dialogue and the deep contempt reserved for staff.
The whole staff representation, from both the Executive Agencies and the Commission, therefore requests:
- The suspension of the relocation of CHAFEA
- The creation of a joint task force to analyse in detail the consequences for the staff of the decisions envisaged and to work on the axes for the development of CHAFEA, aside from all the restructuring in progress concerning the other agencies
- The immediate stop of the actions that seem to be envisaged as of next week, in particular interviews to the staff of CHAFEA
- That an overall reflection on the governance of the Executive Agencies and their human resources policy, in particular concerning the absence of career prospects, be launched, with the participation of the Staff Representation
- That the staff of the executive agencies can fully participate in the social dialogue concerning the reorganization of the executive agencies, being part of the said Task Force through the representatives of the Staff Committees of the executive agencies and their Joint Staff Committee
C. Sebastiani, Secretary General Alliance, R&D President
R. Trujillo Herrera, TAO AFI President
M. Vicente Nunez, USL President
G. Binet, Save Europe President
A Hubrecht, SFE President
E. Di Meglio, SE/RD President
M. Gemelli, CISL FIR President
Ł. Wardyn, Generation 2004 President
N. Mavraganis, USF President
G. Vlandas, H. Conefrey U4U/USHU/RS, Presidents
S. Stefanidis, FFPE President
I. Iacono, CSC President
Common Staff Committee of the Executive Agencies
Staff Committee of CHAFEA
Staff Committee of EACEA
Staff Committee of EASME
Staff Committee of ERCEA
Staff Committee of INEA
Staff Committee of REA