Building Europe

Home
Working conditions
Outside Brussels
Agencies
Europ. Institutions
About U4U
Members

 

Construction européenne

Up Programme Newsletters Building Europe Action groups

Cette page discute les éléments de la construction européenne qui à un titre ou un autre sont en rapport avec la fonction publique européenne. Voir aussi le site du GRASPE ou d'Europe solidaire pour d'autres documents.
 

Sur cette page
On this page
La crise de l'UE : inteview de Georges Vlandas

SOTEU 2016

Le Plan Juncker : où en sommes-nous ?

Crise des Migrants : Appel d'U4U

Budget 2014

Political agreement on progressing the discussion on the MFF

Global and long term effectiveness of the institutions (Open letter)

MFF : EP position

Décision du Conseil de fev 2013 sur les MFF

Débats sur le cadre financier en 2013

 

La crise de l'UE et les fonctionnaires européens

Extrait d'un interview de M. Georges Vlandas (Mars 2017)

 

 

SOTEU 2016

Some comments on M. Juncker's speech : state of the Union (Sept 2016) : From a 10-point plan to an existential crisis – predictions and facts about the evolution of the European Union's priorities since 2014

Lettre à M. J.-C. Juncker pour son discours sur l'état de l'union

Plan Juncker: où en sommes-nous?

Lors de sa prise de fonction, notre président avait correctement caractérisé le contexte politique de la nouvelle Commission: dans un monde en proie à des "poly crises", sa Commission était celle de la dernière chance. C'est la raison pour laquelle il a lancé en été 2015 un plan de croissance pour "relancer l'économie et préparer l'avenir". U4U a salué cette initiative, tout en se prononçant pour des moyens budgétaires publics accrus pour assurer un impact économique réel.

Pour ce faire, la Commission a recouru - en l'absence de moyens budgétaires publics - à l'épargne privée, en se fixant comme objectif de lever 315 milliards. La garantie fournie aux investisseurs privés est relativement mince : 21 milliards d'euro ponctionnés sur le budget de l'Union et quelques 42 milliards apportés par les états membres.

Un an après, seuls 100 milliards ont été engagés.

Des questions se posent quant aux résultats.

bullet

Compte tenu de l'absence de subventions publiques, les projets choisis n'auraient-ils pas vu le jour de toute façon? Si la réponse est positive, la valeur ajoutée du plan Juncker serait en question.

bullet

Deuxième question: la nature des projets subventionnés : préparent-ils l'avenir (transition énergétique et environnementale, la recherche, l'emploi des jeunes…) ? Il semblerait que cela ne soit pas suffisamment le cas.

bullet

La dernière question concerne la faible concentration des moyens vers les pays en crise économique grave au profit des pays où cela va mieux. Ainsi, pour ne prendre qu'un exemple, le plan Juncker est peu mis en œuvre en Grèce (qui a besoin d'investissements et de mobiliser des capitaux privés) alors qu’il a beaucoup bénéficié à la Grande-Bretagne.

S'agissant d'un projet phare de la Commission Juncker, nous aurions souhaité que notre institution communique plus souvent, tant en interne qu'en externe, au sujet de ses réalisations. Nous sommes conscients que les difficultés du plan Juncker ne sont pas imputables à la Commission mais aux États membres qui ont rogné le budget de l’UE au pire moment, alors qu’une relance était nécessaire. Ce n'est pas une raison pour renoncer à réclamer des moyens budgétaires additionnels, lors de la révision à mi-parcours du cadre budgétaire, promise au Parlement européen.

04/07/2016

The Juncker Plan; where do we stand?

When he took up his post, our President correctly assessed the political context of the new Commission: in a world prey to "poly-crises", his was a last chance Commission. That is why in the summer of 2015 he launched a growth plan to "revive the economy and prepare for the future". U4U welcomed this initiative, declaring itself in favour of increased public budgetary resources to guarantee a real economic impact.

In the absence of public budgetary resources, the Commission achieved this by calling on private savings, setting itself a target of raising 315 billion. The guarantee given to private investors is rather meagre: 21 billion euros drawn from the EU budget and around 42 billion provided by the Member States.

One year later, only 100 billion has been committed.

The results give rise to certain questions.

bullet

In view of the lack of public subsidies, wouldn't the chosen projects have come about anyway? If the answer is yes, the added value of the Juncker plan is debatable.

bullet

Second question: the nature of the subsidised projects: do they prepare for the future (energy and environmental transition, research, youth employment, etc.)? This does not appear to be the case.

bullet

The final question concerns the low concentration of resources to countries in economic crisis, to the benefit of those countries in a healthier situation. Thus, to take just one example, the Juncker plan has barely been implemented in Greece (which needs investment and the mobilisation of private capital), although it has been of great benefit to the United Kingdom.

With regard to a flagship project of the Juncker Commission, we would hope for more frequent communication from our institution, both internally and externally, on the subject of its achievements. We are aware that the difficulties of the Juncker plan are not attributable to the Commission, but to the Member States that have cut back the EU budget at the worst possible moment, when a recovery was necessary. That is not a reason to give up on a claim for additional budgetary resources during the mid-term budget review promised at the European Parliament.

Crise des migrants

Appel d’U4U / RS, syndicat de la fonction publique européenne, aux Membres du Conseil Européen

La crise des migrants / réfugiés révèle encore une fois les dysfonctionnements de l’Union Européenne. Notre syndicat en est très préoccupé, la défense de la fonction publique européenne est subordonnée à nos yeux à celle des missions des institutions, à celle de la méthode communautaire, enfin à la défense d'une Union européenne solidaire, porteuse de valeurs humanistes et sociales.

Depuis que l'Espace Schengen a été mis en place, les Etats participants ont eu tendance à réduire les compétences communautaires pour les renationaliser, à accumuler les obstacles devant les Agences en charge de son fonctionnement et bien sûr sinon à réduire dans tous les cas les budgets du moins à les limiter significativement.

Cette crise qui s’aggrave de façon soudaine n’est cependant pas récente, cela fait des années qu’en Méditerranée la situation s’envenime. Cela fait des années qu’il est évident que l’on a besoin d’une politique européenne d’accueil cohérente et juste, de moyens d’action et de contrôle suffisants, de solidarité et de moyens financiers. Mais, sommet après sommet, de déclarations en déclarations, on assiste à l'affirmation d’égoïsmes nationaux, à plus de décisions nationales incohérentes et inefficaces.

Mesdames, Messieurs les membres du Conseil européen, vous portez une part de responsabilité dans la montée de l’euroscepticisme. Les citoyens se rendent bien compte du manque de cet esprit collectif, de cet esprit européen qui seul permettrait de répondre de façon cohérente et efficace à la crise des migrants conformément à nos principes en matière de droits de l'homme, de sécurité et de développement économique. Et ce diagnostic ne concerne pas que la crise des migrants, hélas, la gestion de la crise de l’euro et des dettes publiques a été chaotique et généralement pitoyable aux yeux des citoyens européens. Depuis combien d'années y-a-t-il eu consensus sur la nécessité d’une vraie gouvernance fiscale et économique de la zone euro pour sauver la monnaie unique, sans que rien ne bouge, ou si peu, sauf lorsque la crise a déjà frappé ?

Vous vous trompez de méthode. La méthode dite intergouvernementale ne marche pas. La somme des politiques nationales ne fait pas une politique européenne. La gestion des crises avec pour seul horizon les manchettes des journaux des lendemains de sommets n’a aucune chance de produire des politiques crédibles. En outre, ce processus de décision construit sur le rapport de forces entre Etats membres, et non pas sur la recherche de l'intérêt commun à partir d'une proposition de la Commission, fragilise de plus en plus les solidarités existantes et empêche la mise en place de nouvelles solidarités entre les peuples de l'Union.

La méthode communautaire autour de décisions à la majorité qualifiée est la seule qui puisse réellement construire des réponses européennes cohérentes et surtout acceptées par les citoyens, grâce aux mécanismes démocratiques, certes perfectibles, mis en place par les traités de l’UE.

Par exemple, la Commission européenne a une expérience concrète dans la gestion des crises humanitaires extérieures et dans la coordination des initiatives des autres acteurs, telles que les ONG. Pourquoi ne pas demander à la Commission de prendre en charge la crise humanitaire interne actuelle, dans un esprit communautaire c’est-à-dire de solidarité et de juste répartition des efforts ? Pourquoi chaque Etat membre doit-il se débrouiller seul et, comme on le voit en ce moment, tenter de reporter sur ses voisins la charge qu’il se révèle impuissant à gérer ?

La question n’est pas simplement celle d’un budget communautaire crédible. Certes, le budget de l’UE devra être augmenté pour que l’UE puisse faire face à ses nouvelles missions. Certes, il faudrait enfin avoir la volonté politique de doter l'Union Européenne de ressources propres. Mais l’essentiel est de fournir une vision politique vers l'avenir et par le haut. Lors de chaque crise, les politiciens, les journalistes, les experts se tournent vers l'Europe mais se demandent: que fait l’Europe? Il faudrait plus d’Europe. Une Europe efficace et pertinente ne tarderait sans doute pas à retrouver l’adhésion des citoyens.

Mesdames, Messieurs les membres du Conseil européen, la recette est simple. Au lieu de discuter pendant des nuits entières de solutions bancales concoctées par vos ministères nationaux pour arriver à des petits compromis qui ne satisfont personne et qui ont peu de prise avec la réalité, fixez des objectifs politiques à la Commission européenne, laissez-la faire son travail au lieu de convoquer des sommets à tout bout de champ, donnez-lui les moyens dont elle a besoin et soutenez une approche réellement communautaire, conforme à l'esprit des traités fondateurs.

J.-C. Juncker, notre président, dans son discours sur l’état de l’EU de 2015 a déclaré : « notre Union européenne ne va pas bien. Il n’y a pas assez d’Europe dans cette Union. Et il n’y a pas assez d’Union dans cette Union. Nous devons changer cela, et c’est maintenant que nous devons le faire ».

Mesdames, Messieurs les membres du Conseil européen, vous avez la possibilité de changer cela. Faites-le maintenant. Car sinon, la déconstruction européenne renverra tous les pays membres dans l’insignifiance et dans l’impuissance.

Georges Vlandas

Président d'U4U / RS - 28/09/2015

European elections : U4U writes to the six main candidates to the Presidency of the European Commission (16/05/2014) EN Version

Lettre aux candidats à la présidence de la Commission concernant la diversité linguistique. Les autres candidats ont reçu une lettre analogue dans leur langue. (9/04/2014)

Human Rights in Times of Austerity Policy
Legal opinion commissioned by the Chamber of Labour, Vienna, Feb 2014

Budget 2014

Les États membres de l'Union européenne se sont accordés le 17 juillet 2013 sur un projet de budget d'austérité pour l'année 2014. Ils ont accepté 141,8 milliards d'euros en engagements et 134,8 milliards en paiements tandis que la Commission préconisait 142,01 milliards en engagements (1,05% du PNB de l'UE) et 135,9 milliards pour les paiements (1,01%), soit une baisse de 6% par rapport au budget initial de 2013. L'accord doit encore être avalisé par le Parlement européen.

La coupe va toucher les dépenses administrative des institutions (-15 millions en engagements et -13 en crédits de paiement).

Budget UE pour 2014: "le bon sens n'a pas prévalu", accuse un commissaire européen

04/09/2013 Le commissaire européen chargé du Budget, Janusz Lewandowski, ne décolère pas contre le projet de budget 2014 de l'UE qui sera présenté en octobre au Parlement européen et qui vient de recevoir le feu vert des 28 Etats-membres. "Le bon sens n'a pas prévalu au sein du Conseil européen et c'est inquiétant", a écrit M. Lewandowski dans une tribune publiée sur son site personnel à la Commission européenne. Le commissaire dénonce un projet de budget qui, selon lui, va affecter de nombreux programmes, notamment dans le secteur de la recherche et de l'innovation. Ce projet "me laisse perplexe", a-t-il affirmé. Les représentants des 28 Etats-membres de l'UE ont avalisé en début de semaine le projet de budget mis au point par les chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement de l'UE en juin dernier. Ce projet, qui sera soumis au Parlement européen en octobre, prévoit 142,2 milliards d'euros en crédits d'engagements et 135 milliards d'euros en crédits de paiements.
Par rapport au projet de budget présenté par M. Lewandowski au nom de la Commission, il manque un peu plus de 300 millions en engagements et environ un milliard en paiements. Si l'on compare le projet de budget 2014 proposé par le Conseil européen avec le budget 2013, les engagements sont en baisse de 9,3 milliards d'euros, soit de 6,15%. Les paiements sont en revanche en hausse de 1,7 milliard, soit de 1,35%. Les engagements (commitments) constituent des engagements juridiques à allouer des moyens à certains projets, contrats, travaux de recherche. Ils correspondent à la limite supérieure des dépenses pouvant être engagées pendant la période considérée. Les paiements (payments) sont le montant que l'Union s'attend effectivement à payer au cours d'un exercice donné. Il y a toujours une différence entre les deux, les premiers étant supérieurs aux seconds: certains projets n'aboutissent pas, des programmes envisagés ne sont pas lancés, des aides budgétées ne sont pas demandées.
Le projet de budget 2014 doit être bouclé avant le 1er janvier prochain. Après l'examen du texte par les eurodéputés, des négociations de conciliation entre le Conseil, le Parlement et la Commission européenne sont d'ores et déjà prévues en novembre.

Political agreement on progressing the discussions on the MFF

End of negotiations on budget 2014-2020

Statement by Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski - 20 June 2013

"After many hours of intense negotiations on 18 and 19 June 2013, the Irish Presidency, the European parliament's negotiators and the European Commission have concluded the negotiations on the 2014-2020 financial period. The package will now be submitted to both the Council and the European Parliament. Due credit must go to the Parliament's negotiators and the Irish Presidency as they showed the required courage to make the tough compromises that were needed from both sides.

The package foresees strong flexibility measures to make the fullest use of the amounts available to the EU budgets over the next years.

It includes a binding revision clause in 2016, in parallel with a review of own resources (the funding of the EU budget).

Also, the Solidarity Fund would be enhanced to make it more responsive to natural disasters such as floods, and the new Youth Employment Initiative would see strong funding in 2014 and 2015 as the situation calls for immediate measures."

Progress in Irish Presidency EU Budget Discussions
07.05.2013, 11:20 GMT

Parallel negotiating process agreed - Statement on MFF Talks:

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, for the Irish Presidency, this evening had a productive meeting on the EU’s multi-annual financial framework with European Parliament President Schulz and European Commission President Barroso.

They agreed on the vital importance of reaching agreement on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020.The MFF is a direct contribution of the EU to the promotion of jobs and growth in Europe.

They agreed that work on both the MFF and the draft amending budget for 2013 will be taken forward in parallel, with work on the draft amending budget continuing on the basis of a two phase approach. The Irish Presidency’s aim remains to reach agreement on both during our Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was agreed that MFF negotiations will begin with a first trilogue discussion next Monday, 13 May.

Update: Detail of Agreement

The President of the European Parliament, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the President of the European Commission met on 6 May to discuss budgetary matters. They agreed:

• To start formal negotiations on the MFF and in parallel to negotiate on the draft amending budget for 2013 which will be agreed in two stages. The Presidency of the Council has tabled a proposal for a first tranche of EUR 7.3 billion which will be submitted to the ECOFIN Council for approval on 14 May. This figure is EUR 3.9 billion short of the EUR 11.2 billion proposed by the Commission as the minimum needed to meet the EU's financial obligations in 2013. EUR 11.2 billion is also the amount still available under the ceiling which can be agreed by qualified majority.

• The Presidency of the Council will work with Member States on a political commitment regarding the second tranche and on how they will meet the remaining obligations by early autumn. The Presidents of the European Parliament and the Commission stressed the need for EUR 11.2 billion.

• Negotiations on the MFF will start with a trilogue on 13 May. These negotiations will start on the basis of the European Council conclusions of February 2013 focusing on four main points :
  - Flexibility
  - A revision clause
  - Own resources
  - Unity of the budget

It was also agreed not to re-open the figures agreed on administrative expenditure (Heading 5) and accordingly to speed up the negotiations on the staff regulations which are part and parcel of the MFF package.

• Both negotiations on MFF and the draft amending budget should converge as quickly as possible – but nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The President of the European Parliament recalled the EP resolution of 13 March 2013 on the MFF which states that "the European Parliament will not conclude these negotiations before the final adoption by the Council and the Parliament of this amending budget".

Letter to the College and to the Presidents of the European Institutions
Global and long term effectiveness of the institutions

Dear Colleagues,

As you all daily hear and read, the European project is under constant attack.

In reaction to the financial crisis, the response proposed by the Member States is to reduce for the first time ever the EU budget. This historical error puts our and future generations at risks and will have long lasting effects. As regards the EU public service, it will severely affect not only the working conditions of the staff in the coming years but also, in the longer-term, the attractivity of the careers in European Institutions.

The EU is the only structure which can offer solutions at the same scale that the problems faced and no Member State would be able to address alone the global challenges. Unfortunately, the citizens see "Europe" as one of the main reasons for their socio-economic difficulties.

We therefore would like, as member of the personnel deeply concerned by this situation, to send the annexed constructive letter to the Presidents of the Institutions. Rather than limiting the action to a cut of expenses, we believe that a more ambitious and forward looking approach is necessary. The letter is a call for a global and long term effectiveness of the EU Institutions and contains some first concrete proposals.

In order to support this idea, you simply need to click on the button "I agree" inserted below. If you join our efforts, we will keep you informed of the developments.

EU STAFF FOR EUROPE
Members of the Personnel Group to protect the European project and the EU public function

09 April 2013

I AGREE

In June 2012, just before the tabling of the Staff Regulation reform, we sent a first letter to the College with a similar general message and more than 7000 colleagues signed in less than two days. This gave a substantial political weight to the arguments defended by the Trade Unions. Due to the importance of the current crisis we hope to get much more of your signatures.

Message de soutien de U4U au Club U4U

How many have already signed ? 3948 (on 8 June 2013 17:21 hrs)                          Avis aux signataires

MFF : EP position

Résolution du PE de mars 2013

Cette résolution, non contraignante, n'est pas la position formelle du PE sur le cadre financier pluriannuel, prévue par le Traité. Cette position formelle sera votée probablement en juillet 2013, acceptant ou rejetant en bloc la dernière proposition du Conseil. Par cette résolution non contraignante, le PE définit son point de départ dans la négociation avec le Conseil (trilogue).

19/02/2012 – MEPs opposing MFF

The leaders of the European Parliament are threatening to veto the bloc’s multi-annual financial framework because of its severe cuts, various European media report. The Christian Democratic EPP, the largest group in the legislature, said the seven-year MFF worth €960 billion must be revised to realistically reflect the EU’s growing competences and responsibilities. Socialist leader Hannes Swoboda called the budget unacceptable and said there won’t be a majority for the proposed plan, while MEP Joseph Daul also opposes the MFF. According to Austrian sources, all important parliamentary parties are still demanding adjustments to the MFF which, as The Daily Express puts it, may be on the verge of collapse.

European Commission President Barroso and European Council President Van Rompuy have so far failed to convince MEPs of the benefits of the deal, Cypriot Politis reports. In an interesting note, Lëtzebuerger Land argues that most MEPs, who will soon have to fight for their own reelection, are unlikely to stir up a showdown with the European Council or with their own governments.

Décision du Conseil des 7 / 8 février 2013 concernant le cadre financier pluriannuel (MFF)

The European Council on 8 February 2013 reached agreement on the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), which defines the budgetary priorities of the EU for the years 2014-2020. For the new MFF to enter into force in January 2014 a final agreement with the European Parliament has yet to be reached.

EU Council documents : Overview (showing comparative table)  Detailed decision

See U4U position on this decision

Message from the Secretary General of the Council after agreement on MFF

Dear colleagues,

I should like to inform you of the outcome of the European Council that concluded this afternoon. As you know, the goal of the European Council was to decide on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is the Union's budget for 2014-2020. The leaders needed to do two things. They needed to decide on a budget that would both help lift Europe out of the economic and financial crisis and be consistent with their efforts to bring their own deficits and debts onto a more sustainable path. It was not an easy task given the two objectives and the wide range of interests of the Member States. Failure to have agreed would have brought risks and uncertainty for the functioning of the Union.

As you will have seen from the press, it was a difficult meeting. An agreement was finally reached after almost 26 hours of intensive negotiation. For the first time in the EU history, there is a real decrease in MFF. The overall deal is € 960 billion, by 3,5% lower than the previous MFF. This agreement has important implications for the work of the Institutions and the Council Secretariat.

A key item affecting all of us is the administrative expenditure (Heading V), agreed at the level of of € 61 629 billion. This is € 1,5 billion less than the original Commission proposal. On this Heading, the European Council said that this new ceiling would include, inter alia, the effects of the following savings:
• A reduction applied to all EU institutions, bodies, agencies and their administrations of 5% in staff over the period 2013-2017. This shall be compensated by an increase in working hours without salary adjustment.
• As part of the reform of the Staff Regulations, the adjustment of salaries and pensions of all staff through the salary method will be suspended for two years and the new solidarity levy will be reintroduced at a level of 6% as part of the reform of the salary method.
The savings referred to above shall be equally shared between all institutions.

The President of the European Council and President of the Commission were of the view that these measures, while hard for the Institutions and for staff, would still allow the Institutions to maintain their core tasks, not undermine the European public service and still be acceptable for staff at a time when all EU citizens are being asked to contribute to the general economic effort. They fought off further reductions of Heading V, and in particular proposed the additional 1,5 billion cut to be covered by a two-year salary freeze, as an additional contribution to the overall effort.

What are the next steps? Firstly, the Multiannual Financial Framework must obtain the European Parliament's consent before being adopted. Second, the reform of the Staff regulations will need to be taken forward through the ordinary legislative procedure, where the Parliament also plays a key role and has strong views. The European Council decided that the ceilings indicated above set the framework for the co-decision process, which will decide the concrete implementation of these and the other measures proposed by the Commission (such as restrictions on early retirement, the extension of the retirement ages as well as the method for fixing annual adjustments).

As you know, I have already started preparing the Council Secretariat for these developments. Our work has made clear that it should be possible to accommodate the foreseen level of staff reduction through, for example, not replacing colleagues leaving on retirement. So, once again I want to be clear that you should not fear for your jobs. We shall also together continue looking at how we can do some things more efficiently, or at a lower cost.

I think the decision of the European Council is manageable as it reduces uncertainty on the future resources of the GSC and staff working conditions. I am confident that together we can get through this period and emerge stronger.

Uwe Corsepius
Secretary General

The real negotiations will start now with the European Parliament

Joint Statement to the Press by Joseph Daul, on behalf of the EPP Group, Hannes Swoboda, on behalf of the S&D Group, and Guy Verhofstadt, on behalf of the ALDE Group and on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit

Commenting on the results of the EU summit, the leaders of the four largest political groups in the European Parliament issued the following joint statement:

"The core priority behind Parliament's choices is the ambition to promote growth and investment in the EU, and thus to contribute to Europe's sustainable recovery from the crisis.

This agreement will not strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy. It is not in the prime interest of our European citizens.
The European Parliament cannot accept today's deal in the European Council as it is. We regret that Mr Van Rompuy did not talk and negotiate with us in the last months.

The real negotiations will start now with the European Parliament. We will maintain our priorities which we have clearly stated many times.
We see with astonishment that EU leaders agree to a budget that could lead to a structural deficit. Large gaps between payments and commitments will only store up trouble for the future and not solve existing problems. We remain firm on the respect of Article 310 of the Treaty which requires a balanced budget.

In addition to this, there are four important points that we will not abandon:

First, we are calling for increased flexibility using Qualified Majority Voting : between years and between categories of spending. It is a sensible approach which will allow us to make the best use of our financial resources.

Second, we are also standing firm on a compulsory revision clause with a Qualified Majority Vote in the Council, which should allow us to revise the financial framework in two or three years. We don't accept an austerity budget for seven years.

Third, with this same sense of responsibility we are calling for new, genuine own resources for the European budget to progressively replace the current system based heavily on national GNI contributions.

Fourth, we cannot accept a budget based solely on priorities of the past. We must maintain support for future-oriented policies, strengthening European competitiveness and research.

The outcome of the final budget will determine whether the second decade of the 21st century will be remembered as the time of further integration for the benefit of all Europeans or the time of a standstill for Europe, or even falling behind in a globalised world. "

Message from  Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of
INTER-INSTITUTIONAL RELATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION

Dear colleagues,

The European Council has now concluded and there is a political agreement between the Heads of State and Government.

The negotiations were very difficult. As the President has said, this deal is not perfect, but it does offer a basis for negotiations with the European Parliament which has to give its consent. The overall levels of the MFF and its various headings are below what the Commission wanted, given the challenge of promoting growth and jobs across Europe in the coming years. However, there is also growth in a number of key areas such as research and innovation and Erasmus, and we have new initiatives such as the Youth Employment Initiative and the Connecting Europe Facility.

With regard to spending on administration, the European Council agreed on € 1.5 bn. in cuts over 7 years in addition to our proposal of € 1 bn. This should be achieved through a 2-year freeze in salaries and pensions across all Institutions, agencies and bodies as well as the measures already proposed by the Commission.

While these cuts will be difficult to absorb the European public service will be able to continue to function and to deliver its traditionally high quality service. Europe's citizens expect nothing less, because the crisis is not over yet.
The Commission hopes that the way is now open to conclude talks on the Commission's proposals of December 2011. They have already received broad support in the European Parliament. We need this reform to deliver efficiency gains so that we can serve Europe better and allow the EU institutions to do more with less. We are confident that we can achieve this and I count on your solidarity and understanding during these difficult times for the European Union.

Le budget de l'UE en quelques coups d'oeil

Video message by President Herman Van Rompuy: EU Budget Negotiations - the bigger picture must not get lost

Speech by Martin Schulz, EP President, to the European Council on Feb, 7th (English, French versions).

Negociating Box presented by H. Van Rompuy

Débat sur le Cadre financier (Fev 2013)

La foire d'empoigne continue et les rumeurs vont bon train. Des données fantaisistes sont avancées qui jettent plus qu'un doute sur la qualité du processus décisionnel au niveau du Conseil.

EC Vice President Maros Sefcovic signals cautious optimism for a budget deal

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Following the General Affairs Council meeting on Monday, EC Vice President Maros Sefcovic expressed cautious optimism that a deal on the next 7-year budget of the EU would be reached. Contrary to expectations, EC President President Herman Van Rompuy has not yet tabled his latest budget proposal and would probably present it to EU leaders at the European Council meeting of 7-8 February.

Meanwhile, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore predicted that the EU would be plunged into a new era of crisis and uncertainty if its leaders failed to agree this week on a budget for 2014-20.

Haro sur les eurocrates

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Après la révélation que « 4.365 fonctionnaires européens gagnent plus d'argent que la chancelière » publiée hier par le quotidien allemand Die Welt, deux articles dans les Echos, signés Anne Bauer, semblent prendre la défense des eurocrates.

Bauer cite le porte-parole du commissaire en charge de l'Administration, Maros Sefcovic, qui a répliqué qu'aucun fonctionnaire ne gagnait davantage qu'Angela Merkel, dont le revenu mensuel est évalué à 21.000 euros. Seuls les commissaires européens perçoivent un salaire équivalent, et même supérieur (plus de 23.000 euros) pour les présidents de la Commission, du Conseil, du Parlement et la haute représentante aux Affaires extérieures. En outre les fonctionnaires européens ont pourtant consenti des efforts pour se mettre au diapason de l'austérité avec une chute de leur pouvoir d'achat de 7,6 % entre 2004 et 2011. Dans son deuxième article elle explique le régime fiscal des eurocrates.

“Absolutely alien”

European Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič criticises that politicians like David Cameron blame the European public administration for cheap applause.

Mr Šefčovič denies in an interview with SZ that some EU officials have a higher income than Angela Merkel. His proposed structural reform is blocked by member states, whose demand to save at least €15 billion in administration over seven years is “absolutely alien” in Mr Šefčovič’s opinion, as all EU wages amount to only €4.5 billion. Mr Šefčovič contradicts the view that the European Commission is not flexible and points to personnel for the troika, economic supervision and task forces.

Discussion on high wages of EU officials

As SZ reports, European Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, who is responsible for EU personnel and administration, defends high wages against criticism from the German public. The European Commission is in competition with many international organisations and has to remain attractive for the most talented specialists, explained Mr Šefčovič, who also contradicts the information that many EU officials are better paid than Angela Merkel. The demands to save at least €15 billion in administration costs are called “absolutely alien” by Mr Šefčovič, who points out that in this case, the Commission can “pack up and go home”. The debate prior to the European Council is politically charged, according to the article, although the wages amount to only 6% of the entire EU budget. Focus.de refers to the EU officials’ statute listing some “considerable” regulations and states that EU officials do “rake in” money and can earn more than Ms Merkel without being a top manager. Welt.de makes its own calculations and contradicts the clear statement that no EU official earns more than Ms Merkel. In some aspects, the Commission spokesperson making this statement was not very meticulous. MEP Ingeborg Gräßle (CDU) made a comprehensive comparison using the official EU salary calculator and registered more tax incentives for EU officials compared with German officials. However, the Commission spokesperson claims that the EU’s wages are not very attractive compared with those of German officials. According to Sabine Henkel of WDR 5, it is clear that Brussels is a very attractive employer, but the voices pointing out that the high wages in the EU are not justified are getting louder. Ms Henkel refers to Michael Jäger of the German Taxpayers Federation, who names the tax-free foreign allowance a “slap in the face of every tax payer”, and also Ms Gräßle, who argues that the EU prescribes saving programmes for member states but acts “inconsistently”, as it does not accept any savings in Brussels. But even if the budget is reduced at the European Council, these inequalities will not vanish any time soon, according to Ms Henkel. Brussels correspondent for Handelsblatt Thomas Ludwig also admits that Brussels’ officials are “financial first class”, but it is false that they are unwilling to contribute to savings. A structural reform plan is intended to save up to €8 billion until 2020. Mr Ludwig explains that the pressure in some EU countries is higher, but it has always been easy for member states to point at Brussels in order to distract from their own failures. There is room for cutting wages, but the EU must remain attractive in comparison to other international organisations.

Ahead of EU summit: net contributing countries demand cuts in EU administration

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A few days before the start of the EU budget summit, several net contributing countries demanded that drastic cuts should be made in the EU administration, Austrian State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry Lopatka said after a meeting of ministers of European affairs and ministers of foreign affairs on Monday. Particularly Germany and Great Britain supported the Austrian view that cuts had to be made to active service remuneration and pensions of EU officials; for this reason, an amendment to staff regulations is urgently necessary. At the moment, €62 billion are budgeted for administration - more than in the current period. Lopatka said that it was made clear that the results agreed upon in November are not to be changed, according to "Kurier". This is good news for Austria since EU partners promised Austrian Chancellor Faymann back then that cutbacks in the field of agricultural subsidies would be less severe than stipulated in the planned agricultural reform of the European Commission. Furthermore, Austria still insists on keeping its EU contribution discount as long as other countries keep theirs as well, according to Mr Lopatka. ORF reports that ahead of the summit of EU heads of state and government on the bloc's multi-year budget, the SPÖ and ÖVP traded blows about how to correctly represent Austria in the talks. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Reinhold Lopatka's call on Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann to veto in the negotiations about the EU budget if Austria loses its discount is criticised by the coalition partner. Undersecretary for Finance Andreas Schieder believes this is "cheap play" and states hat he is against deploying a veto. Prior to the EU budget summit, Austrian Agriculture Minister Berlakovich warned against additional cutbacks in the field of agriculture, saying that such cutbacks would be a mistake since the money is needed for rural development. However, there is much cutback potential in the field of administration, he said. A commentary in "Der Standard" on the EU's long-term financial planning predicts that EU economic growth might remain rather modest until 2020, keeping up the pressure on most national budgets to commit to austerity. Population growth is flat, in particular because EU countries do not agree on an orderly and aggressive immigration policy. This partly explains why the talks about the EU's financial outlook through 2020 are so cumbersome and reluctant, believes the columnist. The "Wirtschaftsblatt" editorial article has criticised the inability of the EU heads of state and government to solve the distribution of EU funds rationally. The article goes on to say that the heads of state and government should focus their problem-solving skills on truly important tasks such as a mutual effort to increase Europe's competitiveness, to lower the unbearably high unemployment rates or to forge a promising mutual energy policy. In an interview with the "Presse" Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) expert Margin Schratzenstaller says a new system of financing is the crux to solving the block to reform in the EU. Net contribution has become the primary parameter of decision-making, while other non-monetary benefits have not been taken into consideration. She expects the upcoming summit on the budget to "focus only on cosmetics in major spending categories".

E.U. officials’ salaries draw fire

5 Feb 2013 IHT

A European Union spokesman on Monday defended the salaries of some top-ranking officials, which have been criticized in the German press. The issue erupted just days ahead of a summit meeting to wrestle with the Union’s long-term budget. Days ahead of a summit meeting where leaders of the European Union’s 27 member states are to wrestle again with a proposed seven-year budget for the bloc, an E.U. spokesman was forced to defend the salaries pulled down by some officials. At a time when many European governments have been compelled to impose stringent budget cuts, the issue of salaries and perquisites for E.U. officials has resonated. In November, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain called on officials in Brussels to share the pain that austerity measures have brought to millions of Europeans. On Sunday, the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag stoked the controversy by comparing the salaries of some E.U. officials to the compensation paid to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Anthony Gravili, a spokesman for the European Commission, told a news conference on Monday that such figures were flawed. ‘‘It’s a totally unfair comparison,’’ said Mr. Gravili, who offered a lengthy rebuttal of the article but did not mention the newspaper by name. ‘‘No official earns more than Chancellor Merkel.’’ Mr. Gravili criticized comparisons of Ms. Merkel’s monthly salary, excluding allowances and other additions, to E.U. salaries including allowances and benefits. European Commission show that the monthly base salary of the most senior E.U. official is ¤18,370, or $24,830. Ms. Merkel’s monthly base salary is ¤21,000. Of that, ¤17,000 is her pay as chancellor, while ¤4,000 is her reduced salary as a member of the German Parliament. Once Ms. Merkel’s basic allowances as both chancellor and Parliament member were included, Mr. Gravili said, the chancellor’s monthly pay was about ¤25,000. E.U. officials generally pay low taxes, but Mr. Gravili said he did not have the figures available to say whether this would raise the officials’ after-tax income above Ms. Merkel’s. Inge Grässle, a German member of the European Parliament and a member of the body’s budgetary control committee, said that the highest-paid E.U. official paid taxes equivalent to about 25 percent of their gross salary. Germany contributes most to the E.U. budget, which was about ¤135 billion last year. E.U. officials receive steady criticism about waste and bloat but only about 6 percent of all spending goes to the Union’s administration, which is staffed by 55,000 people, including 6,000 translators, most of them in Brussels. European political leaders will gather in Brussels on Thursday to consider a budget proposal of roughly ¤1 trillion for 2014-2020. The proposal trims 1 percent from the European Commission’s requested spending for administrative costs. Britain has argued for deeper cuts, saying that those costs, while relatively small in comparison to the overall E.U. budget, are symbolically important. Unlike E.U. officials, the 27 members of the European Commission are political appointees. Their salaries are much closer to those of national leaders like Ms. Merkel, and in some cases may exceed them. José Manuel Barroso, the president of the commission, is paid a basic monthly salary of ¤25,351, a residence allowance equal to 15 percent of that salary, and additional allowances for expenses like running a household and schooling for children. The seven vice presidents of the commission earn basic monthly salaries of ¤22,963. Mr. Gravili said he did not have the figures available to comment on the comparison of the commissioners’ after-tax salaries with Ms. Merkel’s.

Budget cuts, but not only for the EU administrative expenditure

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ahead of the EU Council meeting on the EU multiannual financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020 on next Thursday, the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers were confident yesterday that the EU heads of state and government will find an agreement. "The time has come to do a deal," stressed the Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore. It is expected that EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy will present a new compromise proposal on Thursday afternoon. His most recent proposal from November provided expenditures amounting up to €1009 billion for the years 2014 to 2020. Besides the UK and Germany other net contributors had requested additional cuts. The Luxembourgish Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn stated yesterday that he expects the EU's multiannual budget to be reduced by further €20 to 30 billion. No EU member state could "have an interest that there is no agreement," said Mr Asselborn as reports Tageblatt. He stressed that EU heads of state and government would have to negotiate a compromise, including the UK (the position David Cameron is decisive since unanimity is required). Mr Asselborn warned that if no agreement is found this would "have an impact on the EU’s capacity to act." Mr Asselborn also consistently maintained that the cuts should not only concern the administrative expenditure as Belgium, Luxembourg and France are important locations of the EU administration, emphasises Luxemburger Wort. Besides, Tageblatt.lu informs that European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has called on the EU leaders to agree on a financial plan. "We need to be clear about the fact that these are difficult negotiations. We must also be aware that at the end the consent of the European Parliament is required. Unanimity of governments is not enough," he stressed on Monday at a press conference in Brussels.

Some answers

Rebuttal to allegations by Gernan paper

Are EU civil servants immune to the crisis ?

A UK point of view: note from the House of Commons on the EU Staff Salaries debate

 

4,000 EU officials earn more than a head of government!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

About 4,000 officials in Brussels earn more than the average head of government of an EU member state, for example German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a recent report by the German Sunday newspaper "Welt am Sonntag". This is made possible by several supplements. Independent Austrian MEP Martin Ehrenhauser has criticised for years the lack of proportionality to reality. In the leading article in the newspaper "Kurier", Margaretha Kopeinig writes that it is necessary for the heads of state and government to deal with curtailments in the EU administration at the end of the week. This is not a matter of not paying excellently educated personnel, innovative thinkers and planners according to international criteria - but there are certain examples where money can be saved, says Ms Kopeinig. For instance, she refers to the 42 agencies and many external offices the EU is affording. A commentary in the newspaper "Oberösterreichische Nachrichten" says that while the EU administration is relatively lean and accounts for only 6 percent of the EU budget, structural reform has to be implemented here as well. Certain steps have already been taken but these are not sufficient yet, says the commentary. Thomas Jakl, Director of the Austrian Environment Ministry's Chemicals Policy Department and former Chairman of the European Chemicals Agency, writes in a contributing article for "Die Presse" that, referring to criticism about the "bloated army of overpaid Eurocrats," the EU is a "welcome whipping boy for the losers of modernisation."

[Top] Archives de l'année 2012


Problems regarding this web site ? webmaster@u4unity.eu       Last modified: 6 March 2017.
      Search       Sitemap

Contact us - Receive our press - Join us - Articles of association - Archives - Facebook