The “Near you”
by U4U, USHU, FFPE
Many of us were thrilled and proud when the Ode to Joy rang out as the winner of the French presidential election stepped onto the podium on Sunday evening.
The election of a dedicated European to be the leader of France is a very positive signal for European integration, which needs the drive and support of France so it can find a second wind.
Europe must equip itself with new economic governance tools, intensify its solidarity policies and increase investment in infrastructures.
It must also make a big leap forwards in terms of security and defence, foreign policy as well as policy and legal cooperation, in order to tackle terrorism and organised crime more effectively. The European Union also needs a coherent and credible migration policy. The emergence of the protective Europe called for by the newly elected President is contingent on these conditions being met.
There are many challenges which must be faced, and our Member States, together with the European Institutions, must display energy, determination, boldness, and above all unity before they can be overcome.
An independent, motivated and competent European Civil Service working towards the European ideal is crucial to strengthen the European Union, bringing it closer to its citizens and providing answers to their concerns.
2017 Rotation, management
Congratulations to all those who were recently appointed to Head or Deputy Head of Delegation posts! The Administration kept its word by redeploying a significant number of Heads of Division to the Delegations to achieve a gradual rebalancing of the system (11/43), which has been clearly, and increasingly, in favour of the Member States until now. The latter "only" receive 8 posts (that being so, this balance is a small step toward re-establishing the balance).
Furthermore, it is a regrettable that very few of us are promoted to management posts via this exercise (4 HoD and 2 Deputy Heads). Colleagues at the Commission are welcomed, although this is clearly a one-way deal. The crucial question is, consequently, knowing if the management posts at the EEAS will be open to internal promotion, particularly for vacant posts at Headquarters. It would be extremely harmful for such posts to be filled entirely by new recruits from the Member States, resulting in the poor management of returning staff! Indeed, up to now, Head of Division posts have not been included in internal competitions; at best, they are included in the mobility system…
It is far from certain that the Task Force will be able to shake things up: we need to address the real issues, including the impossibility of reconciling career management and the continuous influx of external staff by opening up competitions for management posts to "all sources", which also encourages unhealthy and unhelpful rivalries. We must all find our place and be aware of our future prospects, even if this means settling the past through appointments in exchange for the ring-fencing of a number of posts for internal promotion, which could result in a distribution between AT staff and permanent officials that is stable and known in advance.
It is high time to modernise the system and once again offer genuine career advancement prospects, although the bottlenecks created in the past will be difficult to eliminate. We must have the courage to break down the barriers. The administration has not even taken all the opportunities to open up the expert posts provided for in the new Staff Regulations, even though they are few and far between… Consequently, the number of colleagues demotivated by the lack of genuine career prospects can only increase, in spite of their personal commitment, as demonstrated by the recent satisfaction survey!
Careers Task Force
This task force, created by the Secretary General to help improve our career system, has already met seven times. Working groups have initially been created according to categories: AD officials, AST officials, Contract Agents and Temporary Agents; and according to different themes: career planning and advice, recruitment and promotion, mobility and rotation, training and development.
A large number of proposals have been made by the task force. In our opinion, the most important of these concern the introduction of greater transparency and objectivity in the selection and appointment process. Indeed, in recent years we have seen a trend towards a less transparent and more random process, something that might have been considered impossible. The pre-selection panels decide, without reference to a criteria grid based on the publication notice, and select those "who must be selected". On completion of the interviews, there is often no appraisal of the candidates, no list of those who were selected, no minutes signed by the members of the panel…
We are therefore requesting:
· a fixed annual cap on internal recruitment to put an end to the situation of colleagues without genuine employment;
· a more transparent and fair selection process;
· that, if the interview process cannot be made more transparent, it should be terminated for internal candidates and a process of internal and external mobility introduced for all posts;
· that inter-institutional mobility be improved instead of being a one-way arrangement as is currently the case;
· that the possibility of increasing the number of those taking early retirement be considered;
· the introduction of a general competition to recruit young specialists in external relations;
· the establishment of a policy to facilitate the transfer to the delegations of colleagues with a family;
· that the training policy should be an effective tool enabling colleagues to achieve the career goals that must be set by mutual agreement;
· that promotions and career development are based exclusively on merit.
We hope that the Secretary General will reflect seriously on the proposals made by the Task Force and that the administration will not hide behind statutory or budgetary arguments in order to make as few changes as possible.
The demotivation of colleagues is serious, as we are observing on a daily basis. Action is therefore needed as a matter of urgency.
We will share the results of the Task Force on gender issues in our next edition.
Contract Agents: a new social dialogue is needed
The social dialogue at the Commission on the new General Implementing Provisions (GIP) for the 2014 Staff Regulations for contract agents has just ended. All that remains is to consult the Central Staff Committee and the Staff Regulations Committee before they can be adopted by the College.
Although not perfect, these GIP represent a step forward for CA staff, especially those on permanent contracts. They enable recruitment at a higher grade, higher promotion levels, the possibility of function group examinations, the organisation of a jobs market, which we want to be inter-institutional, and they set out the conditions for successive contracts, etc.
These new GIP must also apply to the EEAS. That is why we want a social dialogue on this subject.
NEAR You will approach the other unions to suggest a joint approach. (view the GIP here)
Working Conditions for local agents in delegations
This 29 March a "Discussion Paper" circulated by the EEAS was the subject of a first Information Meeting with a view to making proposals to modify the current Framework Rules and to abolish the current Special Conditions of Employment (SCE).
Several new elements are proposed including :
The underlying theme of discussions was the need to establish a clearer legal framework for Local Agents and to odernize working conditions.
The aim is to take three related Decisions on :
The whole exercise aims to be "budget neutral" so they give with one hand and take with the other.
NEAR You wants to ensure that the new proposal does not lead to a deterioration for any LA colleagues, no matter where you are
NEAR You continues to advocate for an AUTHENTIC pension system or a lump sum for those who request it, in keeping with a true modern workplace and the need to ensure adequate social protection for 1000's of Local Agents who serve the European Union and deserve a better package.
The Central Staff Committee is communicating with Ms MOGHERINI and Mr OETTINGER
The CSC meeting in Montenegro adopted an important resolution following the analysis of the Staff Survey for the delegations that notes a deterioration of the situation for all categories of staff, although they play a central role in the activities of the Commission and the EEAS. The CSC is asking Ms MOGHERINI and Mr OETTINGER to join forces and has put forward the demands made by our colleagues, whether in terms of working conditions, security, reclassification for CA staff, improved social protection for local Agents, etc.
We would like this note to be analysed by the EEAS Staff Committee and added to if necessary.
The future of the Union also concerns the officials
On 25 March 2017, the leaders of the Member States met in Rome to celebrate the Treaties of Rome concluded 60 years earlier.
On this occasion, the Commission presented its White Paper on the future of Europe, which constitutes its contribution to European integration up to 2025.
This document highlights the values on which the European Union was built and suggests reviewing the driving forces behind the changes that will influence the next decade, before proposing 5 scenarios illustrating how the Union might develop between now and 2025.
This debate also concerns the officials of the EEAS. The choice between the different scenarios will influence not only the future of European society; it will also have an impact on our professional future.
There have been presentations in the services at the European Commission: why not do the same at the EEAS? It would be helpful for Ms MOGHERINI to take the opportunity, after presenting this White Paper, to discuss it with her staff.
Indeed, the staff of the European Institutions want to participate in this debate and be active in making proposals to face the challenges facing the Union in a climate of growing dissatisfaction and doubt about its ability to guarantee the prosperity of all citizens in an environment of peace, freedom and democracy.
The unions are working on the revision of the electoral rules
Union, Plus, US and NEAR You are moving forward with the revision of the electoral rules. Up to now, the electoral system has not been proportional. Thus, in the last 2 elections, 2 unions with more than half the votes between them have only obtained 4 seats.
The administration of the EEAS also wants to improve things in this regard.
The discussions held over the last two months have made it possible to make progress. Accordingly:
· all the unions are in agreement on a proportional system, providing a more accurate reflection of the choice of the voters;
· likewise, an agreement was reached to reduce the size of the committee from 20 pairs to 15, thereby making it possible to finance one additional meeting per year (3 instead of 2) and to improve its functioning;
· in addition, once an initial vote has been taken to decide on the competing lists, the voters, if they wish, will have 3 choices of preference within the lists selected, enabling them to express their support for certain candidates.
NEAR You has not agreed the final point of this proposal as it rules out the mixed vote of which we are in favour. In fact, almost 80% of voters now mix their vote, voting for candidates from different lists. NEAR You believes that this option should be retained. We hope to reach an agreement on this issue.
NEAR You Team
NEAR You is an inter-union group. It is coordinated by U4U/RS. These are your representatives:
· • U4U/RS: Petros Mavromichalis, Bertrand Soret
· • Deputy coordinators: Victoria Davydova, John Lux
Your NEAR you members on the joint committees (a more complete list will be published shortly):
· AD Promotion Committee: P. Mavromichalis – F. Kopp
· AST Promotion Committee: C. Sorg – J. Lux
· CA Reclassification Committee: V. Guillen – J. Lux
· AL Promotion Committee: V. Davydova
· AL Art 18.6 Committee: V. Davydova
· Reports Committee: F. Kopp
· Discipline Committee: P. Mavromichalis
· PPSS Committee: F. Zaccari – C. Sorg
The NEAR you members in the Promotion and Reclassification 2017 working groups:
· AD: Ferdinand Kopp
· AST: J. Lux
· AST: C. Sorg
01/06/2017 - n°20
NEAR you is a working group of independent trade unions present also at the Commission, who builts a "regroupment" and common list in EEAS in order to unite forces and benefit of their competence in the interest of all EEAS staff".
We welcome new members, the application forms can be found here: U4U, USHU, FFPE
Editeur: Georges Vlandas
Rédacteurs en chef: Petros Mavromichalis, Bertrand Soret
Webmaster & mise en page, envoi: Jean-Paul Soyer, Dominique Cabannais
Equipe de rédaction: J. Lux, C. Hansens, G. Sorg, V. Davydova, Maria Psarou, S. Thakkar