No Xy Lo


Short news from the U4U Comm'Unity

13/05/2011 #13


The great success of Stéphane Hessel's last opus could notably reflect a thirst for understanding, reflection and even involvement. But isolated indignation is not – yet – action, mobilisation or engagement. The passage from indignation to action remains a mysterious and complex act.

In the trade union field, defending working and employment conditions must be based on and rooted in awareness, mobilisation and group interests. Only the mobilisation of everyone can allow your trade union to negotiate strongly, legitimately and firmly at a time when our status and the European Public Service are under threat.

While the College intends to make so to say 'a minima' proposals/decisions and announce them only end of June, Council's objective is to make them worse. Every bit of awareness gained is beneficial, every individual's indignation is fertile and every voice is indispensable. It is only through your support, your claims and your engagement that your trade unions will be in a position to act.

Let's not wait another day before the assault on all our rights under the fake cover of the crisis or member states' pressure: weekly working hours, expatriation allowance, travel allowance, age, calculation and amounts of the pensions, reimbursements of the Joint Sickness Fund, etc.

Let us get informed, unite and give OSP the capacity to really weigh in on the negotiations before it is too late, before your trade unions will not be in a position to defend you, before by a curious sleight of hand between the College, media, member states, Council and public opinion – new sacrifices are thrust upon us.

Information, enlightened analysis and self-examination are indispensable. Indignation and gaining awareness are beneficial. Yet, at the stage we are at, action and mobilisation are vital! U4U is working on this together with the other unions of the trade union majority.


Here's the reality, while expecting worse to come …

The draft budget 2012 endeavours to be in tune with the current austerity climate at national level.
The Commission has made a particular effort and opted for a freeze of its administrative expenditure for 2012. This has been achieved by significantly reducing expenditure linked to buildings, information and communication technology, studies, publications, missions, conferences and meetings.
Furthermore, for the third year in a row, the Commission does not request any additional new post.

Source : Rapid – IP/11/499 – 20.04.2011


Hidden towards the end of an interview that Commissioner Lewandowski gave to EU observer, here is the point of departure for a frontal attack on our Statute and working conditions:

The Polish politician also promised to freeze the commission's own administrative budget, hinting that EU civil servants can expect to see their benefits trimmed in a forthcoming proposal.
"I can announce that there will be a very deep revision of the status of [EU] fonctionnaires. It will come in a proposal in June"

Source : EUobserver – 20.04.2011 (

U4U calls on the Commission to divulge its draft proposals before their adoption in order to allow balanced and fair negotiations that preserve the founding principles of the European Public Service. U4U considers it important that sufficient time be allowed for an adequate social dialogue to be held that implies the consultation and the participation of staff.

U4U maintains that there is no need to revise the Statute and that the necessary adjustments and savings can be introduced without opening Pandora's box. U4U refuses to see the staff status change from the already unacceptable status of scapegoat to that of a variable in budgetary adjustment. Savings are possible and needed without attacking the rights of the officials.


  Canteens : the Commission must set the example  

While the Commission is busy preparing the procedure for the renewal of the canteens and restaurants market as of 2013, a group of colleagues from different DGs launched a petition asking for the healthiest and environmentally-friendly food. Over 400 colleagues have already signed.

U4U considers this an excellent initiative that merits support in order to better protect and serve staff. In this field too, the Commission should be setting an example.

Contact : Tony Carritt - DG CLIMA



New EPSO competitions and U4U training

The institutions are gearing to publish the following competitions in the Official Journal of the EU:

- Competition for AD5 (EPSO/AD/216/11 to EPSO/AD/221/11) for translators of Czech, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish and Slovak. Estimated number of places on the reserve list: around 150 for all the competitions.

- Competition for AD5 and AD7 (EPSO/AD/222/11 to EPSO/AD/226/11) for interpreters of Czech, Latvian, Maltese, Swedish and Spanish. Estimated number of places on the reserve list: around 100.

- Competition for specialists AD7 "Technologies of information and communication". Estimated number of places on the reserve list: less than 100.

- Specialised competition for AD6 Archivist. Estimated number of places on the reserve list: Less than 10.

- Specialised competition for AD7 "Cooperation management of aid to third countries'. Estimated number of places on the reserve list: less than 50.

U4U will keep you informed about these competitions and its preparatory training courses.



The Ombudsman and EU civil servants

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, is asking citizens, interest groups and other organisations to submit comments on the draft statement of public service principles which should guide the conduct of EU civil servants.

U4U encourages all colleagues to participate in this public consultation whatever their status is.

Lien : 



EPSO competition: analysis of the first AD competition

51,639 applications were validated and 37,372 persons took the tests. 989 applicants were invited to the Assessment Centres (AC) and 308 were put on the reserve list.

A faster procedure: the procedure took 10 weeks, against 18.5 weeks for a similar competition in 2006-2007, but with twice more applicants than in 2010.

A higher level: as a whole, applicants who were accepted to the AC and successful applicants had at least 16/20 at the verbal test, 7/10 at the numerical test and 6/10 at the abstract reasoning test.

Linguistic distribution: 80% of applicants passed the Computer Based Test in EN, 16% in FR and 4% in DE. Numbers are as follow for the Assessment Centre: 90% EN, 8% FR and 2% DE. This last linguistic distribution is also valid for the reserve list.

Gender balance: the gender balance was not reached for the CBT step. For the audit competition, 2.5 times more men than women had the required mark; and 3.5 times more in the economy field. In ICT, the success rate of men is twice higher than the one of women. In law and European public administration, women are respectively 33% and 50% less than men to have had the required mark. This gender unbalance does not exist for the Assessment Centre step.

Results by nationality: there were only few British and Nordic laureates, except for Finish nationals. Results of nationals from MS that joined the EU after 2004 were disappointing, while there are no more specific competitions organised for these, apart from Romanians and Maltese. Therefore, on the reserve list, there are 29 Spaniards against only 2 Polish, for countries of similar population.

U4U thanks colleagues, members of the selection board and the evaluation committee, who demonstrate their commitment and did not count the hours, while respecting the principles of transparency, legality and equality of treatment.


  The Council requests the application of the exception clause of Article 10 of Annex XI of the staff Regulations, regarding the application of the Method in 2011.  
Article 10 of Annex XI of the staff Regulations foresees the following provisions:

"If there is a serious and sudden deterioration in the economic and social situation within the Community, assessed in the light of objective data supplied for this purpose by the Commission, the latter shall submit appropriate proposals on which the Council shall act in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 283 of the EC Treaty."

MS have asked the Commission to draft a report on the implementation of this article of the staff Regulations. In this context, if the Commission notices a serious and sudden deterioration in the economic and social situation within the Community, it should make a legislative proposal to suspend the application of the Method in 2011.

Taking into account the main economic indicators in the EU (unemployment rates, growth rates, employment market, debt, public finances, etc.) and the expected trends for 2011 and 2012, there is no doubts that there is not really a serious and sudden deterioration in the economic and social situation within the Community.

In this context, U4U highly encourages the Commission to properly reflect this situation in its report to the Council, to be adopted in June, and recommends not to make any legislative proposal that would aim at suspending the application of the Method and to proceed as usual for the 2011 calculation of the remuneration adaptation, based on Annex XI criteria.



The Commissioners' Code of Conduct

The Commission announced on 20 April 2011, that they will execute a review of the Code of Conduct.

This review aims at reconsidering:

- Rules on political activities, including Commissioners' participation in electoral campaigns;

- Rules on activities after leaving the College, including guiding criteria for the Ad hoc Ethical Committee’s assessment, and the extension of the notification obligation of post-office activities from 12 to 18 months;

- Annual revision of the declarations of interests;

- A clear procedure to deal with any potential risk of conflict of interest during the mandate;

- Clearer rules on gifts and hospitality;

- Exclusion of spouses, partners and direct family members from the Cabinets;

- Reinforcement of the remit of the Ad hoc Ethical Committee.

U4U takes pleasure in stating that this is ultimately considered to be worth it...



When the European Ombudsman makes a faux-pas

The European Ombudsman has just published a survey on the guiding principles of the public service for European civil servants. This text is in fact an insult for the community's public function. You can find the details of this survey on this website:

However, it is important to inform the colleagues on the more than tendentious impact of this text and to quote a few clarifying examples.

1. "The civil servants should be aware of the fact that the institutions of the Union have been established for the Union's and its citizens' interests." The Ombudsman has obviously not been informed on the article 11 of the statute, which obliges the European civil servant to be loyal to his institution and the Union.

2. "The civil servants should at any moment behave in a way that withstands an even most meticulous public examination; to acquit him of this obligation, it is not enough to simply respect the law." Well, but what should he respect apart from the law and the hierarchy? Does he have to submit to the member states' injunctions as well?

3. "The civil servants should not take obligations of financial or other nature upon themselves that might influence them in the exercise of their office. They must be ready to open any professional matters that might have a private relation. The civil servants must take measures to avoid any conflict of interests. They continue to be under this obligation when having resigned from office." The Ombudsman is obviously neither informed on the European civil service's obligations contained in the statute, dealing with financial matters and conflicts of interests: to abstain from affairs whereupon they might place some private or family interest, or to acquire or keep a position in a company that is controlled by the institutions (article 11 bis), control of external activities (article 12 ter), control of spouses' activities (article 13), control of activities after expiring of the functions (article 16).

4. "When they ask for reimbursement of expenses and grants of allowances, they should be rather guided by principles of ethics than by orientation of maximum profit for their advantages." Does that mean that the civil servants are swindlers? Does that mean that a civil servant who insists on his rights is behaving unethical?

5. "The civil servants should prove to be open minded, ready for challenges and inclined to listen to differing arguments. They have to be ready to admit and correct errors." The errors are attributable to an institution. Therefore, it is the institution's and not the civil servant's task to proceed to the correction of the mistake, committed by a civil servant. If a civil servant has committed a mistake in the administrative or financial field, it is thereafter the institution's decision whether to punish the civil servant. There are procedures foreseen for the end (ref. article 22 of the statute).

6. "The civil servants should act in a way to receive and show respect. They have to be courteous, helpful and cooperative." Are the civil servants being discourteous, inaccessible and uncooperative towards the public? May we ask for examples? What is the measuring rod that has been applied?

7. "The civil servants should be ready to explain their activities and justify their actions. They should welcome the citizens' right to watch their conduct as well as their compliance with the principles of the public service." The application of the principle of transparency does not mean that the public has a right to have insight into the civil servants' activities. The actions and policies are the institutions' and Union's affairs to be justified towards them, and the civil servants only execute the decisions of political authorities within a legal frame. Furthermore, there are well-defined rules regarding the external communication, which clearly allocate the role and limits of a spokesman.

Enough joking we can only state that the ombudsman sadly has a very negative role to play vis-à-vis the European Union's civil servants.

We herewith invite all the colleagues to respond to this survey, which is part of the general campaign of the member states against our communities' public service and Europe and to show our disapproval.

At the same time U4U will suggest the trade unions and the Staff Committee of Personnel to draft a common response. We will also ask the Commission for an explanation.


  Attestation: new exercise 2011  
On the basis of a report by DG HR, the Commission has organized a last exercise of attestation, which considered the terms of application established by the Commission's decision of 29 November 2006. This has to be taken into account when the attestation procedure of the 2011 exercise is launched.


  You wrote to No Xy Lo  

When talking about salaries, we have to talk about figures as well, since there are huge disparities depending on the situation.

Although I am 51 years old, I am still AST 1, and I earn 2.600 Euro. On a yearly basis, divided by 12, this corresponds to ca. 300 Euro per month more than I would earn in the Belgian public service system, where I have acquired 23 years of seniority. This is a choice that I made with regard to my professional career, and I do not complain about it.

I have AST colleagues, who have more years of seniority at the Commission, have a family and are not Belgian, and who earn more than 4000 Euro for the same work. I have another Belgian AST colleague who works on a contractual basis and who earns 1500 Euro for the same work.

As you can see, it is difficult to generalize with regard to our salaries, since the differences are enormous. This is why I think that, when we talk about salaries, it is better to take a concrete example including elements of comparison that are valid in other countries of the European Union.

I also think that it is advisable to apply other criterions, like costs of living, and the costs that arise in connection with the expatriation.


" seen from EEAS", as a political report would formulate, the question of open spaces is not a principal problem of today (but could become topical in a few months).

We have launched an exercise of rotation where 17 EEAS-posts were published for 2011 only - AD "non management". Yes, you have read correctly: 17 posts (!!!) for ca. 600 AD civil servants + 291 END (who can apply for them and be recruited as AT's). Half of them are based in New York, Washington, Beijing and Vienna, the EMs go with them presumably. The civil servants of the EM are of statutory priority, and thus the option of leaving is made almost impossible for the ex-Commission and ex-Council civil servants, or at least to take the two way ticket that the statute foresees.

This does not seem acceptable. I know very well that in 3 or 4 years the situation will normalize, but that does not solve the problem of the colleagues, who have opted for the 'external' career. One has to be aware that the commitment in a delegation comes in the course of a planned career, and it is not always possible to stop or delay the joining of a delegation by 3 or 4 years due to children's school attendance, family problems, etc. Therefore, many colleagues here are worried about this problem.

Also, the fact that the mobility of these EEAS-colleagues is objectively totally 'blocked' for 2-3 years, is apparently a case of force majeure (which is not in the interest of the service), and is therefore to be renegotiated with regard to this aspect, and should the EEAS-civil servant in the Commission - during a transition period - be the accepted candidate not be considered, he must be able to make use of his return ticket, but with the possibility of re-entering the EEAS at the end of his external commitment.

Apart from that, what external service is there going to be, if this year a rotation of ca. 1 civil servant out of 100 is foreseen, which is by 25 times less than in a normal external service?



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Editeur: G. Vlandas  Responsable de la rédaction: R. Mohedano-Brèthes  Équipe: J.-P. Soyer, F. Andreone, F. Linton, J.L. Noir, N. Pascall, S. Vlandas, O. Wolff, G. Tengelidou, S. Pakalin, V. Davydova, J. Prade, G. Hanney.

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