The “Near you”
by U4U, USHU, R&D, Conf-SFE, FFPE
Summary: • Editorial: Ready for a new challenge! • Professionalisation, where are you? • Evacuation of Local Agents • CAs: “converting the try”! • AT too! • Are staff posted in delegations a worthless plebe? • Revitalizing the activity of the EEAS • Strengthen NEAR You by joining one of its 5 member unions!
Editorial: Ready for a new challenge!
The first three-year cycle of the EEAS Staff Committee is nearing an end, in parallel with the mandate of the First Vice-President/High Representative.
No-one can look back with total satisfaction on these first three years, although it has to be said, in mitigation, that the implementation by the Member States and the political climate have not made things easy.
It is to be hoped at least we have learnt from any failings, in order to prepare for the immediate future and beyond.
NEAR You is ready for this new challenge. NEAR You has been strengthened by the integration of the FFPE EEAS.
R&D, Conf Sfe, FFPE, USHU and U4U are therefore pooling their resources and making a united effort to represent all staff efficiently, in a European, non-corporatist spirt.
We are ready for the staff committee elections which we hope are imminent, i.e. before the end of the year, so as to enable all staff and their representatives to be ready and able to meet the challenges ahead when the new Vice-President/ High Representative takes up her new duties. We call upon the Administration of the EEAS and the other unions not to postpone the date of the next elections.
Professionalisation, where are you?
Waiting and hoping… Ahead of the upcoming game of musical chairs this autumn, the mood at EEAS is predominantly one of uncertainty.
Although the decisions on mobility have at long last been taken – in any event for this year – TA colleagues whose contracts are due to expire next year had in part to learn their fate… in any event for those who have not been fortunate enough to obtain an extension via a non-transparent exercise. The others – supervisory positions and those who have been selected for a second post – will also have to wait for next year’s mobility/rotation exercises.
All staff remain on tenterhooks regarding their future prospects, after having suffered the effects of the creation of the Service which has resulted in career prospects being blocked and obscured: still no internal competitions in view, neither for CAs nor for post-2004 staff; no decision on end-of-service staff – only a vague, theoretical career path; no thought has been given to the closer integration of TAs, in a social dialogue context which remains very… formal. The most recent example of that is the absence of prior consultation on the TA reclassification exercise.
According to Mrs Ashton, the EEAS should consolidate best practice, leading to a professionalisation of the system, while abandoning previous practices, chiefly those of the Commission. For the time being, we have witnessed the over-bureaucratisation of procedures which, instead of increasing opportunities, eliminates them and leaves the door open to arbitrary decisions. We have endured intergovernmentalism, as the distribution of management positions illustrates, in particular in the delegations, but also at headquarters, where permanent staff are too often restricted to implementation tasks.
So yes, we expect the future Administration to focus on professionalisation, not only with regard to the profession of “diplomat", but also with regard to the management of human resources, as is the case in foreign affairs ministries which have such a tradition, with the identification of talented people, the creation of networks, the genuine personalised monitoring of individuals, standardised recruitment with career prospects for everyone, officials, TAs, CAs and ALs. We also want the importance of social dialogue to be recognised! That is very much the thrust of the open letter sent by NEAR to the new High Representative.
Evacuation of Local Agents
Surprisingly, the draft decision on the evacuation exercise by the EEAS is called "Duty of care" responsibility for staff in Union Delegations in case of country evacuation."
More surprisingly, the decision is only applicable to the expat staff in the EU delegations. Local agents are conveniently omitted in the document.
Let’s have a closer look and compare the stages of how the evacuation works in UN.
There is an urgent need of serious reforms in this area. The institution which is spending millions of euros in helping others doesn't have a policy to help a section of its own staff in difficult situations.
When a bomb goes off in a warzone, it doesn't discriminate on the basis of nationality. Ebola virus doesn't care about the origin when it infects.
So, the institution must not care about the nationality or origin of the person and extend the "Duty of Care" to All Staff Categories.
CAs: converting the try!
Thanks to the action of the Contract Agent’s Collective, which was the main driving force behind the joint union demand, CAs have obtained, following the adoption of the new Staff Regulations, the extension of contracts at headquarters to 6 years, the opportunity to sit internal competitions and also the promise of a new staff policy, facilitating horizontal and vertical mobility, including at inter-institutional level, reclassifications, etc.
These announcements raise hopes and legitimate expectations, both among staff and at the level of the institution, which has everything to gain from the implementation of a policy that promotes staff development and motivation.
Near You advocates the urgent opening of a social dialogue for the implementation of this new policy. In our opinion, the most pressing short-term needs are for the organisation of internal competitions for permanent positions and reclassification competitions for CAs to enable them to access higher function groups, as at the Commission, in order to remedy the downgrading practised by the institutions at the time of recruitment.
TAs too !
The Treaty of Lisbon, in creating the EEAS, provides for the recruitment of a percentage of “temporary staff” for that institution.
TAs are colleagues from the public services of the Member States. In becoming a European civil servant, they are entitled to enjoy the same rights and obligations as other staff members, in terms of mobility, rotation, promotion, the correct management of their contracts, etc.
The rules in force prohibit discrimination between TAs and officials, including in the duties performed by them. The EEAS can only be efficient if the staff management rules are followed and if there is genuine solidarity between all staff categories.
Near You will monitor the situation very carefully to ensure that the situation of these colleagues is correctly managed.
Are staff posted in delegations a worthless plebe ?
A self-appointed « Union », currently not represented whatsoever in the EEAS Staff Committee, has invented a new form of discrimination when it recently called for the resignation of the President of the EEAS Staff committee because he is on rotation to an EU Delegation – as if that should adversely affect his ability to continue to manage correctly the Committee.
Is the « Union » suggesting that EEAS staff based in Delegations cannot or should not participate fully in social dialogue ?
Someone should explain to this “Union” the meaning of the word “External” in the "European External Action Service" and inform them that :
• according to March 2014 statistics, 55% of EEAS
staff is now based in Delegations (1886 EEAS staff members!) with 45% at HQ
But, probably, the « Union » views the External Action Service staff Committee as an old-boys group, self-referencing, unionist, comfortably sitting close to the powerbase at HQ, never having ever been posted nor wanting to be posted to a Delegation, … far, far away from the problems of the majority of EEAS colleagues based in Delegations. This view is probably shared by some other unions, for example when the two vice-presidents of Union Syndicale and the executive secretary from PLUS rejected the request for a detachment in favor of a Local Agent.
As per the accusations of dysfunction of the Staff Committee, should we understand that its role, in their view, is to dance to the Administration’s tune, when this same administration has cut so drastically resources in the EEAS ?
Make sure you make the right choice in the forthcoming EEAS Staff Committee elections to be launched in a few weeks' time.
Vote for real EEAS colleagues representing the real EEAS both at HQ and in Delegations!! Vote NEAR YOU EEAS
Revitalising the activities of the EEAS
Near You calls on the Vice President/High Representative to ensure that the actions carried out at the level of both the EEAS and the Commission’s services pursue the same objectives, are mutually consistent and make full use of the instruments available to the European Union.
Coordinating the external dimension of the various Community policies is one of the biggest challenges facing the new Commission.
This fresh impetus is particularly important in an increasingly challenging and tense international environment.
It is important for the European Union to speak with one voice and to act coherently.
Strengthen NEAR You by joining one of its 5 member unions!
Once the elections are over, our coalition will have to prove that it represents 280 EEAS staff members, i.e. almost 10% of staff.
That is why we are calling on staff to join one of the five organisations which make up the Near You trade union group.
Editor : G. Vlandas - Editor-in-chief: B. Soret
Secretary: Dominique Cabannais, Layout and Web master: Jean-Paul Soyer,
Editorial committee : Victoria Davydova, Helen Conefrey, Siggi Krahl, Sumeet Thakkar, Marianne Maurer,
Ute Bolduan, Thelen Brunhilde, Ferdinand Kopp, Sergio Marinellli, Maria Manon de Hernandez, Christoph Sorg,
Holger Osterrieder, Cristiano Sebastiani, Magdalena Kaminska, Hervé Bouge, Dirk Buda, John Lux