In this crucial electoral period for the future of the European Union, colleagues in the Representations are on the front line: permanent and urgent reporting on political positions taken, dealing with false information, briefing the Commissioners and DGs, informing Headquarters day and night… Staff in Reps is more in demand than ever, 24 hours a day. We have a special thought for our colleagues at these times, which without forgetting the ongoing action that R&D has been carrying out for years for the Representations. Indeed, R&D has closely followed the work of colleagues in the Reps for many years, developing a deep understanding and expertise in the area.

Working in a Rep is a significant challenge. It involves being far from Headquarters while handling engaging roles that provide a direct view of European policies in action and enable the development of high-level contacts with national and local authorities, as well as Commissioners and Directorates-General. For many, it also offers the opportunity to work in their home country or a familiar region, allowing them to build and expand their professional networks.

However, this role comes with a heavy workload and constant political and media pressure. Employees must remain vigilant, counteract misinformation swiftly, and keep Headquarters informed immediately. The working environment also varies, depending on the dynamics created by managers and staff. While some Reps are excellent workplaces, others face challenges due to understaffing or inadequate management.

In summary, working in a Rep involves continuous tension, significant responsibilities, and notable achievements. It is crucial to stay informed about the happenings in each Rep, whether national or regional, as each location has its unique circumstances.

R&D has developed substantial expertise to support colleagues in Reps effectively. Our collective actions include:

  • Maintaining an in-depth dialogue with DG COMM at the highest levels, including the Director General and the Business Correspondent.
  • Ensuring fair promotion and reclassification exercises for officials, contract agents, and local agents, considering their distance from Headquarters and local specificities such as political context and staffing issues.
  • Advising and supporting colleagues undergoing compulsory rotation, ensuring their field experience is valued during their return to Headquarters, which often has limited offerings from their original DGs. This highlights the need for intelligent and supported mobility, which we are currently working on.
  • Implementing flexible working arrangements, particularly since the COVID crisis, ensuring health and safety measures, and promoting fair treatment.
  • Overseeing new open space installations to ensure they facilitate both collective and individual work effectively.
  • Ensuring the effective and transparent use of social credits for Reps and advocating for an increased budget.
  • Enhancing the availability of free local transport, similar to that at Headquarters.
  • Addressing the impact of negative correction coefficients on daily life expenses, ensuring a fair compensation system due to low correction coefficients in many capitals.
  • Providing training for EPSO and internal competitions and coaching with online sessions specifically for colleagues in Reps.

In addition to these collective actions, R&D offers continuous support for individual cases, including:

  • For contract agents: extension of contracts, reclassification, and career development.
  • For officials: evaluation, promotion, appeal phases, and rotation exercises.
  • For all staff: issues related to workload, reorganisation, individual rights, part-time access, flexitime, pension schemes, conflicts, harassment, etc.

Many colleagues have also benefited from consultations with our R&D lawyer, Me Orlandi, whose expertise is exceptional in EU Staff Regulations (free consultations for R&D members).

Finally, R&D welcomes the appointment of Lene Naesager as the first Chief Confidential Counsellor. Her role in preventing and combating workplace harassment within the Commission is vital. As a former director in DG COMM, she is expected to have a particularly sensitive approach to conflict situations in Reps. She will rely on R&D’s expertise, which played a crucial role in adopting the new decision on preventing and fighting psychological and sexual harassment, dated 12.12.2023.

We recognise there is still work to be done. R&D does not claim that all our requests have been immediately fulfilled, but we remain committed to fighting for colleagues’ rights and will continue our efforts tirelessly.