Mobilisation of EU institutions staff
ahead of the European Summit of 7 and 8 February


5 February 2013, at 13:00 outside the Berlaymont

What? Mobilisation of EU institution staff against the attacks on the European public service by several Member States

The Summit of 7 and 8 February will be devoted to negotiations of the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for the period 2014-2020, i.e. the budget for the whole period as well as the maximum available expenditure for each sub-heading.

Following the failure of the November Summit, the time has come to try again to find an agreement. Various Member States are intent on cutting administrative expenses way beyond the Commission's November 2011 proposal for Reform of the Staff Regulations and 5% reduction of staff, saving  1 Billion €  over 7 years. If their less than rigorous arguments win the day, the European civil service and the high-quality work that it does will be put at great risk.

Myths and realities of the European civil service:
- Are we too many? It is often said that there are too many EU civil servants, but the reality is that the total of about 30,000 at the Commission is similar to a city like Manchester or Paris.

- What about the money spent in the public service? Too expensive? The EU budget represents around 1% of GDP of the 27 member states, about 130 billion euros. The major part of this (94%) is devoted to citizens, regions, agriculture, businesses, innovation and research. Only a small portion (6% of the budget) is allocated to administrative expenses, and only about 2% (3.3 billion euros) is for remunerations, equivalent to 2 cents per day for every citizen.- Are the salaries of the staff too high? Salaries of staff of the EU institutions are at the same level or lower than those of comparable international institutions such as FAO, OECD and NATO. The remuneration of lawyers and private sector experts that interact with EU institutions are often higher than those of EU officials. Moreover, a comparison with the remuneration of senior officials of the public administrations of the Member States shows that they are better paid than employees of the EU Institutions.

- Since 2004, the Commission has replaced staff with 6000 contractual agents whose wages can even be below the minimum basic wage in the public sector in some Member States such as Luxembourg.

- To maintain geographical balance between officials from different Member States, the level of compensation needs to remain attractive. Officials from several Member States including the United Kingdom and Germany are significantly under-represented.

- In addition, the remuneration needs to be adequate to recruit highly-qualified staff who can work in at least three languages.

- If the rumored cuts are adopted, the European public service would lose all its attractiveness, with consequences that one can only imagine: a Commission unable to play its role and at the mercy of powerful lobbies.

A strong public service for a strong Europe

- The EU cannot remain indifferent to the current context of economic recession, and sacrifices are to be borne by all, as the Commission is already making as a consequence of the 2004 Reform (which will achieve 8 billion euros in savings by 2020) and the further Reform proposal of 2011.

- It should be highlighted that the EU has been called upon to increase its presence and joint actions as the most effective ways to overcome the crisis. To do this, the existence of an independent, strong, and well-prepared EU civil service is essential.