Dear President Barroso, Dear Vice-President Šefcovic,

We understand that at a time when the issues before the European Union are huge, questions of staff and pensioners’ remuneration may seem a distraction.
We do not believe so, and are grateful that you do not think so either. The present times underline more than ever the need for an EU public service that is fully able to support you and the leaders of Europe with knowledge, understanding, imagination and skill.

As you know, the staff and we ourselves for the pensioners do not ask for better pay or conditions, or that we should be protected against the effects of present difficulties. We ask only that we should bear their impact to the same extent as national public services, both in terms of staff structures and working conditions, and in terms of remuneration. This principle has enabled good cooperation between national and EU staff in many areas over decades. For most of the time it has kept staff matters out of the area of public debate.

From this equitable principle of parallel development, we fear that measures for the EU public service that are chiefly designed to cut costs now may in the longer term weaken its ability to serve the Union. (This may be a medium-term outcome desired by some member states.) Our concern – we believe it to be yours also – is that short-term needs should not undermine the long-term effectiveness of the EU public service.

Specifically we ask that you keep the essential features of the present ‘method’. This has worked well for many years to guarantee parallel development of national and Union public servants’ real (net after tax) remuneration and pensions both down and up. The changes now proposed would no longer guarantee this, or the link between pay and pensions. They also open the way to technical issues which could lead to needless future dispute. More detailed explanation is given in the attached note. All our comments are the practical
application of the principal question, which is to maintain the important role of the Union’s public service in the future.

We also, sadly, need to mention the recent COREPER decision to postpone consideration of the next annual adjustment. This shows again a readiness to discard legal obligations, and is a further sign of disregard for the EU public service. More widely, it is an alarming indicator of disregard for legal obligations in general.

We wish you success in all the present vital debates.

Yours sincerely

Richard Hay
international president of AIACE

AIACE: the Association of Former Officials of the European Communities