WAS THIS THE BEST POSSIBLE DEAL?

 

"Today we agreed the first ever cut in the EU budget and the British rebate is safe. This is a great deal for Britain! (David Cameron, on twitter)

 
 
 

The European Council has concluded a political agreement (MFF) to reduce the EU budget 2014-2020 for the first time ever, by 3,5 % (European Council Conclusions:

 

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/135344.pdf EN (original version)

 

Staff expenditure will be cut by 2.5 billion euros, (1.5 billion in addition to the Commission's initial proposal of € 1 billion) cuts.

 

This will be achieved through a 2-year freeze in salaries and pensions across all Institutions, agencies and bodies as well as the measures already proposed by the Commission (a 5 % reduction of the staff for the period of reference, an increase in working hours without salary adjustments,…) and this notwithstanding other still not fully precise "non-staff related expenditure", which will submit to revision all our current working conditions (buildings, IT rationalisation,…).

 

The MFF proposed by the Council now has to go to the EP for decision.  The Parliament's currently stated position is that they will reject the MFF, and we will have to see what they will do. They could for instance ask for a higher budget for the MFF and they could at the same time call for the Reform cuts to be limited to a smaller figure than 2.5 B€.  Right now it is not sure how long it will take before the uncertainty is cleared. It will depend on the attitudes and decisions of especially the EP and the Council.

 

The Staff representatives have met yesterday VP Sefcovic who admitted that this agreement was not a victory but the best possible deal. He feels his decision to link the Reform and the Method for salary adjustments to the MFF has been shown to be the right one, and he now calls on the staff to support in his efforts to arrive at a final agreement on the reform and the method.

 

It is undeniable that, as VP Sefcovic stated, it's preferable in the current economical context to work on the basis of a multiannual framework than on annual budget basis, as the civil service already requires certainty and stability, but surely not just any agreement! We do welcome the decision to exclude the European schools from the budget cuts.

 

We believe the Commission has not managed in spite of theirs efforts to counterbalance the vicious campaigns in the media and the attacks of certain countries such as the UK against the EU civil service, which has had an undeniable effect on the outcome of the European Council.

 

TAO-AFI ahead of the decisive vote at the European Parliament calls the Commission to assert its position of the efforts already being made since 2004.

 

TAO-AFI will follow closely the on-going discussions and -if a decision is to be taken- on the implementation of further reforms of the Staff Regulation and other internal administrative measures.

 

TAO-AFI will keep you informed of further development.