FFPE - Brussels - Luxembourg - Strasbourg
Brussels, 29 June 2011
OPEN LETTER ADDRESSEDTO THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF 8 MEMBER STATESVia the respective Permanent Representatives to the European Union.
Eight Member States have signed a common text with a view to exploiting the fact that two provisions of the Staff regulations of the European Union civil servants are about to expire. They claim that, in times of economic difficulty, the European civil service must show solidarity with Member States. To this, we respond that the staff of the European institutions has expressed its solidarity for many years already and in particular since the Reform of 2004 with, for example, the introduction of the special crisis levy (which is being increased on a yearly basis), increased pensionable age (to 63 and 67 years), reduced pension rights amongst other similar measures. This 2004 Reform resulted in a reduction of personnel costs by 20% annually (cf. Eurostat).
In order to go one step further, we invite those who have not delivered so far, to commit themselves along the same road: the European Commissioners who benefit from extremely generous severance packages, representation costs, car services etc…but also members of the European Parliament who receive many benefits including a solid pension scheme guaranteed by the taxpayer.
This solidarity, however, can only lead to modest savings in the context of a budget which is a tiny part of an overall European Union budget and representing an insignificant part in comparison with the combined GDP of all Member States.
If the objective of the 8 Member States, also joined in the meantime by others, consists in a reduction of the costs of the European Institutions, then the solution is simple and straightforward. This solution however is certainly not to be found in the area of the Personnel costs since the staff has already contributed its part and hence the complementary savings at its expense can be only minimal.
It would be more efficient to look at excessive spending that result from a lack of political courage:· Why should the European Parliament be constantly moving from Brussels to Strasburg via Luxembourg?
· Why not introducing a more coherent plan for spreading throughout Europe a myriad of Agencies (42 in total to date)?
· Why can't the newly created External Action Service reduce the inflated number of senior positions such as Secretary-generals and Directors-general?
· Why a pharaoh-like office building for Mr Van Rompuy?
Could it be that the real objective of certain Member States is rather of an ideological order consisting in the weakening of the European civil service?It is with dismay that we note that also Founding Member States associated themselves to this initiative. Even if some Member States have traditionally and openly showed their distrust towards the European project, the founding Member States on the contrary have always been on the forefront acting as the motor of the European integration in support of a Public service that is competent, independent, permanent and indispensable.We therefore urge the Member States and the founding Member States in particular to be consistent, to walk the talk and not to jeopardise the future of the European Union.
For the sections of the staff union FFPE in the European institutions:
FFPE CommissionSigned Pierre-Philippe BacriPrésident FFPE CouncilSigned Renzo CarpenitoPrésident
FFPE European ParliamentSigned Georges MarcopoulosPrésident
FFPE EESC-CoRSigned Attila KutasiPrésident
Signed Rory Domm