Ispra & Seville
Dear President Schulz,
First of all, Union Syndicale congratulates you for your re-election as President
of the European Parliament. The large compromise you were able to achieve
represents a needed asset in these times where the economic crisis triggers
difficult living conditions ending in massive abstention and rise of the
extremes. To that extent, your re-election is a positive sign for restoring
the image of the European project among the EU citizens.
Deeply convinced that Science and
Research are fundamental for the development of a peaceful, economically
competitive and innovative Europe, Union Syndicale sent
on 12 May 2014 an Open Letter to all candidates for the position of President
of the Commission asking for their point of view about Science and Research
and their main scientific and technical arm for EU policy-making: the Directorate General - Joint Research
In your response dated 19th
May, you basically confirmed the importance of Science and Research for the
economic revival of the European Union, mentioning that they are a "fundamental tool for the job creation and
the increase of European competitiveness, essential for the social cohesion
we wish for all".
like to thank you for your reply and consideration of the positive role the
JRC has in the areas of Research, Science and Innovation within the European
Commission and within Europe. The JRC staff highly appreciated your letter as
you replied despite a heavy agenda.
shares your view, in particular the importance to invest into Research and
Development in these times of crisis, where on the contrary a reduction of
the resources is under way with easily foreseeable drastic results.
the vision you expressed on the need to reinforce the capacity of the JRC to
provide its permanent daily support to the preparation, implementation and
monitoring of EU policies and regulations; and, as you have pointed out, this
vision makes it compulsory to preserve and develop the skills and facilities
of the JRC in order to match the key competencies to the current needs and
future requirements; and, with this purpose, it is essential to ensure a
sufficient level of high-level Research.
As you, Union Syndicale deeply regrets the budget cuts made during the
negotiation of the program Horizon 2020, which makes the task of DG JRC more
carefully following the political evolution, a consequence of the last
European Parliament elections, and in particular the recently published
proposal for the composition of the new Commission and the repartition of the
portfolios. In this respect, Union Syndicale would
like to voice to you the astonishment, disorientation and concerns of the JRC
staff following the decision of removing the JRC from the portfolio of the Commissioner for Research, Science and
Innovation, and its placement in the portfolio of the Commissioner for Education, Culture,
Youth and Citizenship.
not see any added value in
excluding DG JRC from the Research,
Science and Innovation portfolio. On the contrary, this change means the
separation of DG JRC from its natural context: Research, Science and
Innovation, in where our DG has always been. On the other hand, the remaining
departments and entities in the "Research Family" that share the
Research Budget, i.e. the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG
RTD) of the Commission, as well as the Executive Agencies linked to Research
stays within the Research, Science and
The withdrawal of DG JRC from "Research, Science and Innovation"
portfolio is not simply an administrative reorganisation of the Research
Sector. In fact, the Project Team for Energy Union will not include the
Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship. The question is
whether this exclusion will also imply the exclusion of our DG from the
participation in the Energy Union
Project, which deals with all areas of research where the Joint Research
Centre, through its dedicated Institutes, is active.
that there are many aspects of Institutional and budgetary nature, linked to
this change, which need to be clarified, considering that the splitting of
the well-established Research Sector will significantly impact the daily
working life of thousands of Commission staff.
Last but not least, the staff of DG
JRC has become aware of some extremely worrying declarations by a spokeswoman
of President Juncker, which are reported in the Science and Business Special
Report of 12 of September 2014(1), and that state that “The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is an
agency that has a major role to play in prospective research that is related
to the knowledge economy…".
This statement, which has created
even more concerns among the staff, proves that it is fundamental, that all
institutional actors are correctly informed about the broader institutional
context including the JRC – which is a Directorate General and not an agency–
before taking any decision about roles and policies. Union Syndicale is actually concerned that such confusion could
jeopardise the well-structured Research Sector ending in wrong decisions and
into account the potential and unforeseen dramatic consequences of separating
the JRC from the Research Sector of the Commission and positioning it in the "Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship"
Syndicale wants to ask you that
this proposal is carefully scrutinised and eventually revised during the
upcoming political hearings of the future Commissioners by the European
For Union Syndicale Ispra/Séville
M. Crivelli, President
For Union Syndicale Petten
JP Schosger, President