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Newsletter from U4U : October 2015 – n°45


Sommaire :

 version française

• Editorial: supporting U4U
• The TFP validates the Commission's promotion system
• The Volkswagen Affair: what are the responsibilities at European level?
• Appeal from U4U/RS to the Members of the European Council.
• Promotion rates
• Annual assessments: objectives must be set
• U4U backs the appeal of the Contract Agents’ Collective
• Open forum: "The unions are useless!"
• U4U at your service

U4U is a recent but very active trade union within the European institutions and organisations.

We are a union capable of influencing the social dialogue agenda through the quality of our analyses – for example, CA file, staff assessment, monitoring working hours, well-being, social dialogue agenda, etc. Our thoughts and contributions on the human resources policy are meaningful, as shown by our recent papers on mobility, the AST grades, job insecurity, well-being at work, and professional incompetence; all prepared in consultation with our members and the staff.

We are the only union to have a proximity practice, a network of contact persons in most of the departments (see list below). We are also the only one that regularly meets colleagues at their workplace in order to listen to their concerns and communicate with them throughout the year, not only just before the elections.

We publish numerous reviews and newsletters, unique in the Civil Service for their diversity and quality.

What characterises us is a non-corporatist and non-categorical union approach. We take care of staff unity – from top to bottom of the pay scale, irrespective of status or age – by developing and supporting joint claims.

Finally, we are a European union with a citizenship outlook, defending the place and the role of the European Civil Service in European integration, which we want to see extended, with a greater focus on community and solidarity. That is also a unique approach when it comes to staff representation.

Our social body must be structured and represented in a dignified and intelligent manner. Our representation is a collective business, join us and take part.

Whether you are a contract worker, a local agent, a director, head of unit, former or new official, Commissioner, director or assistant, member of a Cabinet office or a director general, join us by enrolling, by taking part in our discussions and activities, or by supporting us with an annual payment of €60 to the U4U account:

IBAN: BE39 0016 3506 3019
REF: Contribution + Your name + your DG or department and institution

If you are already a member, talk about us, ask your colleagues to join us.

Silvan / Commission of 22 September 2015 (F-83/14)

In a number of publications, the trade union Generation 2004 considered the Commission's promotion system to be illegal, in the absence of an effective comparison of merits, as a result of the TFP ruling on the EEAS promotion system (Monteiro / EEAS of 18 March 2015 F-51/14).

U4U then responded that the Commission's system was very different from that of the EEAS and that it provided a real comparison of merits.

The European Union Civil Service Tribunal recently settled this divergence between our two organisations. In its opinion, the Commission's system guarantees the comparison of merits, unlike the EEAS promotion regime, which does not provide the sort of comprehensive comparison required by the Staff Regulations. Let us try to understand what the arguments of the Community judicial system were in the context of the Silvan case.

The first ground for the petitioner's application for the annulment of the GIP in article 45 of the Staff Regulations consisted of maintaining that a qualitative system does not allow a real comparison of merits between the officials. On this point, the TFP considered that it was up to each institution to decide on the type of assessment system it introduces. The Commission has provided the assessors with the tools needed to create a common base to carry out this comparison of merits:

"– a guide entitled "[Eight] competencies to take into consideration in the assessment dialogues and reports", in which the guidelines were provided on the elements to take into account in appraising competence, conduct, the level of responsibility and in training;

– advice for assessors on “writing a fair assessment report" containing guidelines on the different elements to take into consideration and on expressions to use or not to use;

– a list of the points to be addressed in the preparation of each section of the assessment report;

– some "common assessment standards" intended to "harmonise the assessments within a directorate-general and throughout the Commission as a whole and to facilitate the comparison of individual assessments within a grade"."

To that, we must add that the Commission has trained all of its assessors in the preparation of the assessment reports and provided staff with comprehensive information.

The Tribunal observes that, on the contrary, the EEAS has not taken such measures, leading to the annulment of its system by the Community judicial system. The TFP considered that the situation at the Commission is different from that at the EEAS and that the steps taken by the institution are adequate to compare merits, in the absence of a quantitative system, and to limit the risk of heterogeneity in the assessments to a level that is inherent in any assessment.

The second ground used by the petitioner is the lack of a comparison of merits, stemming from the system in use, which would make the GIP in article 45 of the Staff Regulations illegal.

On this aspect, the TFP accepted the Commission's arguments, which explain in particular that the definition of a quota for each DG and the drawing up of promotion lists for each DG is not incompatible with the comparison of merits. In addition, starting the comparison of merits within each DG means its specifics can be taken into consideration and it can be closer to the situation on the ground. The process continues with discussions about the proposals and non-proposals from the Directors General, with the representatives of the Staff Committee. It goes on to examine the files by the Promotion Committee, which is assisted by the interim working group, whose role is to examine all of the appeals by officials against their non-promotion and to prepare the work of the Promotion Committee. This Committee, on the basis of the work by the interim group, considers the merits of the proposed officials, as well as officials who have not been put forward, and in particular those who have lodged an appeal, unlike the EEAS, where the Promotion Committee only considers the merits of the proposed officials.

Finally, the AIPN carries out "a final comparison of the merits of the promotable officials", with the files available of all the promotable officials, the list of officials recommended for promotion by the Joint Promotion Committee, and the arguments of those officials who were not proposed for a promotion by the Directors General. It is undoubtedly difficult for the AIPN to compare the 25,000 files of promotable officials. However, it can arrange to receive substantial assistance from its departments. The Tribunal states that "within the context of its examination, the AIPN may be assisted by the administrative departments at different levels of the management structure, in accordance with the principles inherent in the functioning of any hierarchised administrative structure, which were enshrined in the first paragraph of article 21 of the Staff Regulations, under the terms of which ‘an official, whatever his rank, shall assist and tender advice to his superiors’."

Finally, the TFP also observes that the petitioner benefited from the comparison of merits within his DG and then with all of the officials of his grade, in the context of the consideration of his appeal by the Promotion Committee. As a result, the Tribunal rejected this second ground and upheld the Commission's promotion system.

As U4U has already written, the present system, without points, appears to be more flexible and less aggressive than a quantitative system. It is more than likely that the results obtained with this system will be the same as with a points system. At the end of the day, the management decides on the promotions, which benefits those it considers to be the most deserving, regardless of the promotion system. We must add to this the fact that, on average, 25% of the Commission's promotable officials are promoted each year. This matches the average promotion rate, which is over 4,000 promotions.

U4U invites the Commission to use the promotion system as fairly as possible and to further improve the comparison of merits for promotion purposes.

The JRC had already condemned the inefficiency of vehicle pollution measurements. The Volkswagen deception is only the tip of the iceberg!

After the Euro crisis, the handling of the Greek crisis, the migrant crisis and the ongoing economic and social problems, the Volkswagen affair must lead us to consider in broader terms the functioning of the European institutions and of the democratic control mechanisms, to make them more efficient and provide a more solid basis for the credibility of the European institutions. This is all the more important because the solutions to the current issues will require the powers of the Union to be strengthened in one way or another. We expect a lot from the present Commission, as J. -C. Juncker, our President, is aware of the impasse which European integration has reached, and of the difficulties encountered by our institution in European governance.

Let us look at the European aspect of the Volkswagen affair. Could Europe have done better?

Although the EU and the national governments have made the fight against climate change a political priority, they are adequately equipped to measure the pollution rate of vehicles effectively.

In a 2011 article, some European officials, scientists at the JRC, noted: “On-road carbon dioxide emissions surpass laboratory emission levels by 21 ± 9%, suggesting that the current laboratory emissions testing fails to accurately capture the on-road emissions of light-duty vehicles. Our findings provide the empirical foundation for the European Commission to establish a complementary emissions test procedure for light-duty vehicles.” This study was aimed at all manufacturers, not just VW.

The European Civil Service performed its analysis and early warning task, highlighting the inefficiency of the emissions measurement instruments and, as a result, the ineffectiveness of the environmental performance indicators that are now required to be displayed in the car manufacturers' sales documentation.

In addition to the JRC, which did its job, the Environment DG did not sit back idly. The same goes for the Commissioner at the time – Janez Potočnik – who sent a clear message in March 2011:

« I said I also wanted to talk about urban air quality. The reasons for poor air quality in our cities are well known. There are more of them, than I could cover in one speech. The short version is that the main culprits are industry, transport, energy production, agriculture and households. Particulate Matter, Nitrogen dioxide and ozone are the main causes of concern with regard to health. (...) One problem worth mentioning is certainly also the discrepancy between what we call "real world emissions" and the emissions under the standards. In recent years, there is increasing evidence that diesel cars, vans, buses and lorries have higher emissions under real driving conditions than those prescribed by legislation. This applies to newer EUROV/5 vehicles as well as to EURO III and IV. These differences can be enormous – in some cases up to 500% of the limit value in the type approval.

We anticipate that the same will be the case for EUROVI/6 should we not be able to resolve this gap between the objective in the legislation and the amount emitted in reality. The result would be that a big part of the predicted air quality improvements expected through its introduction would be simply wiped out. (…)

The Commission has recognised these problems and has already taken some action. In the Communication on Clean and Energy Efficient Cars, from April 2010, my colleague Antonio Tajani proposed how we could rectify this situation. This included the development of a new, global, and more realistic test cycle, the introduction of additional off-cycle tests, so-called portable emission measurement systems, and the introduction of anti-tampering provisions. For heavy-duty vehicles, these are now part of the type-approval legislation for EUROVI. For cars, I am working closely with Vice-President Tajani to ensure that the necessary technical developments are completed by 2013.

We should add that at the end of 2013, this Commissioner (with his colleague from Health) proposed a range of measures to improve air quality. At that time, the file had been blocked by the SG, the College chaired by Barroso and the Council.

As a result, the European leaders, in failing to act on this report, participated in the deception of the public, who were supposed to feel protected by environmental standards and indicators. The "clean diesel" myth was the consequence of these misleading indicators.

A few weeks before the United Nations Conference on climate change in Paris, from 30 November to 11 December 2015, you have to wonder why neither the European leaders, nor the European press, nor the Members of the European Parliament, although quick to react, were able at the time to rely on the impartial work of the JRC scientists or to follow the advice of two other DGs – Sanco (Health and Consumers) and Environment – to condemn a situation that is directly contrary to the stated political objectives and public expectations.

The desire to "protect" the European automotive industry undoubtedly played a role, but ultimately, the damage done by the media will surely lead to a loss of confidence by the public in the European policy for a clean planet. A chance has also been lost to promote the European Civil Service. We should also question the economic cost of not taking action, for example in terms of public health or the loss of tax income, as the problem is not limited to the Volkswagen case.

The European leaders, the Juncker Commission – the last chance, in its own words – must take firm and fast action at European level to restore public confidence and finally make their words consistent with their actions.

The migrant/refugee crisis has highlighted once again the inefficiencies in the way the European Union works. Our union is very concerned about this situation, since the defence of the European civil service is in our opinion contingent on that of the missions of the institutions, that of the Community method and, lastly, the defence of an inclusive European Union that upholds humanist and social values.

Since the Schengen area was established, the participating States have tended not only to reduce the Community competences to renationalise them, but also to increase the obstacles in the way of the Agencies entrusted with its functioning, while, of course, although not cutting budgets across the board, at least imposing significant budget restrictions.

This crisis which has suddenly worsened is not, however, recent. The deteriorating situation in the Mediterranean has been evident for several years. It has been obvious for many years that we need a consistent and fair migrant reception policy, adequate means of action and control, solidarity and financial resources. But, summit after summit, from one declaration to the next, we have witnessed the assertion of national self-interests, with an increase in inconsistent and inefficient national decisions.

Honourable members of the European Council, you bear a share of the responsibility for the rise of euro-scepticism. Citizens are well aware of the lack of this collective spirit, this European spirit which is the only way of ensuring a consistent and efficient response to the migrant crisis in accordance with our human rights, security and economic development principles. And this diagnosis applies not only to the migrant crisis but unfortunately also to the management of the euro and public debt crisis, which was shambolic and generally pitiful in the eyes of European citizens. For how many years has there been a consensus on the need for true fiscal and economic governance in the euro area in order to save the single currency, without anything or very little being done, except when the crisis has already hit?

You are mistaken in your method. The so-called inter-governmental method does not work. The sum of national policies does not make a European policy. Crisis management solely from the perspective of the newspaper headlines on the day after summits has no hope of producing credible policies. Furthermore, this decision-making process, based on the relative bargaining power of the Member States, and not on the common interest starting from a Commission proposal, is increasingly undermining existing areas of solidarity and preventing the development of new areas of solidarity between the EU nations.

The Community method based on decisions adopted using qualified majority voting is the only method that can really develop European responses that are not only consistent but above all accepted by citizens, thanks to the democratic processes, despite some shortcomings, put in place by the EU treaties.

For example, the European Commission has practical experience of managing external humanitarian crises and coordinating the initiatives of other stakeholders, such as NGOs. Why not ask the Commission to take charge of the current internal humanitarian crisis, in a Community spirit, that is to say based on the principle of solidarity and a fair division of labour? Why must each Member State have to cope on its own and, as we are seeing at the current time, try to transfer to its neighbours a responsibility that it is powerless to manage?

It is not simply a question of a credible Community budget. Clearly, the EU budget will need to be increased to enable the EU to fulfil its new responsibilities. Obviously, we need to demonstrate at long last the political will to give the European Union its own resources. But the most important thing is to provide a forward-looking political vision from the top. Whenever there is a crisis, the politicians, journalists and experts turn to Europe, but ask themselves: what is Europe doing? We need more Europe. An efficient and relevant Europe would undoubtedly rapidly regain the support of its citizens.

Honourable members of the European Council, the recipe is simple. Instead of spending nights on end discussing flawed solutions dreamed up by your national ministers to reach limited compromises that do not satisfy anyone and are out of touch with reality, establish political objectives for the European Commission, let it do its work instead of convening summits at every turn, give it the means it needs and support a truly Community approach, in accordance with the spirit of the founding treaties.

In his 2015 State of the Union speech, J.-C. Juncker, our President, declared: “Our European Union is not in a good state. There is not enough Europe in this Union. And there is not enough Union in this Union. We have to change this and we have to change this now.”

Honourable members of the European Council, you can change that. Do so now. Because otherwise, the dismantling of Europe will mean a return for all Member States to insignificance and helplessness.

The case of Anagnostu et al / Commission (F-72/11): How can we follow up this judgment for the benefit of all staff?

This Court of Justice judgment concerns the failure to comply with the promotion rates set out in article 9 of annex XIII of the Staff Regulations during the transition period between 2004 and 2011, in particular for the end-of-career grades AST10, AD12 and AD13. There is a significant difference between the promotion rate set out in the Staff Regulations  and the actual ex post promotion rate.


Grades Actual promotion rates Statutory promotion rates
AST10 8,6% 20%
AST9 11,2% 20%
AST8 17,5% 25%
AST7 21,5% 25%
AST6 23,5% 25%
AST5 28,3% 25%
AST4 34,1% 33%
AST3 26,5% 33%
AST2 25,1% 33%
AST1 27,9% 33%
AST6/C 10,6% 20%
AST5/C 14,7% 22,5%
AST4/C 19,8% 22,5%
AST3/C 22,5% 25%
AST2/C 39% 25%
AST4/D 8,9% 10%
AST3/D 19,9% 22,5%
AST2/D 39,8% 22,5%
AD13 4% 20%
AD12 13,1% 20%
AD11 23,2% 25%
AD10 21,2% 25%
AD9 25,5% 25%
AD8 26,3% 33%
AD7 26,1% 33%
AD6 27,1% 33%
AD5 28,1% 33%

The cumulative difference in promotions between 2004 and 2011 is quite large, which has slowed down the careers of the colleagues concerned, and indeed all staff, due to the cascade effect. The Commission has not used the budgetary resources put by to reduce the disparities in the situations between colleagues following the 2004 reform.

What does the TFP say in the Anagnostu et al / Commission judgment?

Firstly, the Tribunal does not take a position on the question of knowing if the promotion rates in the Staff Regulations are binding for each institution or if it is incumbent on the budgetary authority to adapt the establishment plan to take account of these promotion rates. Unsurprisingly, the Commission supports the latter proposal.

On the other hand, the TFP considers that the Commission did not comply with some of the provisions of its own GIP in article 45 of the Staff Regulations (promotions) and in particular article 2 of annex II, which sets out the calculation of the promotion thresholds in line with the promotion rates set by article 9 of annex XIII of the Staff Regulations. It rejects the Commission's arguments on the low continuity in the grades concerned to justify its failure to comply with the GIP.

What operational conclusions can be drawn from this judgment?

In the first place, the TFP did not address the question of the practical consequences of article 6 para. 2 of the Staff Regulations and annex IB, which sets the promotion percentages: a legal or budgetary obligation? Should we take legal action on this aspect?

Next, the failure to comply with the promotion rates for the end-of-career grades and with the GIP on promotions, in force since 2011, does not allow us to draw any conclusions on what the TFP might say about the new system now in use, which the Commission will be quick to point out.

On the other hand, the Tribunal makes one observation: the Commission did not comply with its own GIPs on promotion for several years, which constituted grounds to rule in favour of some petitioners. As a result, it could be thought that staff in end-of-career grades have lost some promotion opportunities, and this has had a cascade effect on all of the Commission's staff.

At the last Promotion Committee meeting, U4U therefore asked the Commission to make up the promotions lost over at least 7 years and to request the budgetary authority for additional promotions to this end.

Our organisation will ask for a social dialogue meeting to examine, in agreement with the other OSPs, the measures needed to implement this TFP judgment. The human resources manager has promised us a dialogue for this purpose.

On the same subject: another Civil Service Tribunal judgment, based on two vital concepts: the principle of equal treatment and the strict application of the rates in annex 1B (see the text of the judgment with the passages underlined so that they are easier to read). As result of this judgment, the institutions can derogate from the rates in annex 1B for a given year, but these rates must be met over a five-year period.
In other words, it should be possible to find against an institution that, over a five-year period, does not meet the rate in annex 1B and require it to take the necessary corrective measures. The Commission should apply this judgment to the five-year period coming to an end, as it is responsible for correcting its own errors itself. The Tribunal judgment also confirms the independence of each promotion exercise.

Judgment T-653/13 P: The General Tribunal General confirms the importance of protocol in the assessment procedure for officials

The adoption of an administrative decision is always burdened with protocols and formalities that the administration is required to follow. Nevertheless, following these procedures does not always have the same impact. In fact, these administrative formalities are intended to protect the targets of decisions against arbitrary action by the administration. This principle of protection of citizens therefore results in observing the procedural formalities becoming inversely proportional to the administration's margin of discretion. Indeed, if the administration is in a "mandatory competency" situation, the question of whether or not it observes the procedural formalities has no bearing on the outcome of the decision. Contrarily, when the administration has broad discretionary powers, complying with the formalities is the only way to ensure equality and must therefore be guaranteed as rigorously as possible.

The T-653/13 P judgment provides an example of this need to observe the formalities and of the sanctions imposed for failing to do so in an area where the administration probably has the most room for discretion: staff assessment.

Case law on this subject already refers to mandatory formalities in the context of this question where the administration exercises its broadest, subjective, discretionary power, which by definition cannot be objectively controlled by the courts. This judgment reaffirms these formalities on two points: respect for the right to be heard and the setting of objectives for the individual being assessed.

First of all, with regard to the right to be heard, it should be noted that this right forms part of the fundamental right to good administration, as defined by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Nevertheless, this right is strengthened within the framework of the assessment procedure, in the sense that there must be direct contact between the assessor and the assessee, and it cannot therefore take the form of written comments. In this regard, an interview on another matter, even if it were related, could not replace this obligation. There must therefore be a formal meeting between the assessor and the assessee to comply with the right to be heard, which was not the situation in this case.

The issue of setting objectives contained two aspects. The petitioner had in fact changed jobs during the course of the year in question without being allocated any objective for the first part of the year and without any separate objectives being formally notified to him in the new structure he was being asked to head.

The Civil Service Tribunal had considered, with regard to the first point, that the combination of the fact that the petitioner had, with the agreement of his superiors, prepared the transition to his new responsibilities while still occupied with his previous responsibilities, and that in addition, the report concerned the petitioner's new role, constituted exceptional circumstances justifying the lack of objectives for the first part of the reference period. The General Tribunal peremptorily dismissed this argument. From the moment an official begins to exercise his functions during part of the reference period, objectives must be set for him, and in disregarding this significant rule, the administration is exposing itself to the censure of the assessment report.

The General Tribunal goes further by examining the question of the lack of formally set objectives for the second part of the reference period. This is an interesting question as in this case, the Civil Service Tribunal had considered that the agent was aware of the objectives allocated to him, in the sense that they were the same as those for the structure he was managing, although he had not been told about them during an initial meeting with his assessor since that obligation did not include the situation of an agent changing posts during the reference period.

At this stage, the General Tribunal relies on the case law, according to which the assessor has an obligation to formally set objectives when the assessee changes posts during the reference period, in accordance with the principle of equality. The Tribunal therefore defines what it is reasonable to understand by the term "formally set objectives": in other words, the setting of objectives during a dialogue with the assessor. In this regard, the Civil Service Tribunal's reasoning on the lack of any textual obligation to set the agent's objectives during an individual meeting is ruled out in this case on account of the infringement of the principle of equality that such a situation would lead to, and it can therefore be stated that the obligation to set objectives during a meeting is applicable, even if it is not set down in writing.

Finally, the General Tribunal states that "being aware of the objectives to be achieved cannot substitute for a formal dialogue between the assessor and the petitioner for the specific purpose of these objectives, a dialogue during which the content of the objectives can be discussed as well as any disagreement on the objectives to be achieved", in its ruling against the reasoning of the Tribunal, according to which the petitioner was aware of his objectives.

While this judgment does not revolutionise the issue of observing the formalities when performing staff assessments for officials and agents, it nevertheless has the merit of pointing out some key elements of the process that, if ignored, would constitute a significant fault. Firstly, the assessor must always set objectives for the following reference period, regardless of its duration. Secondly, this must always take place during a formal dialogue between assessor and assessee. Finally, the assessee is always entitled to be heard by the assessor in person before the assessment is accepted.

These three elements may appear to be simply a matter of form, but in each case, they provide for a better understanding between the assessee and the assessor, which is crucial for an exercise in which subjectivity is as important as the annual appraisal of an official's performance. Furthermore, these principles must also apply to Contract Agents (AC ter) who are not presently assessed.

Article prepared by Damien Thavard, Legal Advisor, Pappas & Associates sprl sc

The Decision on the Implementing Procedures Decision for Contract Agents (CAs) working for the European Commission should be adopted as soon as possible in order to better integrate the 6500 CAs in the services and should then serve as the model for similar decisions taken for CAs by executive agencies, the External Action Service, the European agencies and of course the other EU institutions. The trade-unions have been called to negotiate.

However the negotiations with DG HR still run too slowly. They started in 2013 and we still have no implementing procedures in late 2015! It is very worrying that many CA colleagues, who supported this reform since 2009, have already left the Commission without any chance to benefit from the much awaited new policy. The Collectif des Contractuels requests a rapid progress of the negotiations in order to allow the CAs in their current 5th and 6th year of contract to benefit before the end of 2015 from the rules on internal competitions and mobility towards the executive agencies and other offices.

The Collectif des Contractuels has discussed the current proposals made by DG HR and develops an approach that is in line with VP Georgieva’s policy for using the best talents within the Commission.

To fully support a rapid progress of the negotiations, the Collectif des Agents Contractuels proposes 12 objectives that can be seen here.

Please sign this petition using this link

Signez cet appel en utilisant ce lien

Join us at our meeting on Friday 30 October, 12.45, rue de la loi 80, large meeting room.

This is something we hear from time to time.

The unions are not alien, external bodies gifted with powers of intercession, who might have descended from outer space. The unions are ALL OF US.

The unions are driven by our colleagues, who give their time* to stand up for what they believe in. Their work impacts more than 35,000 agents at the Commission!

Do you think that the unions are useless because they were unable to avoid the reforms of 2004 and 2014 and the raft of measures that are fragmenting the European Civil Service? Even so, the staff was able to limit the damage and oppose the wishes of the more radical Member States. Some sections of the staff even saw improvements. That said, the Civil Service has never been able to defend itself adequately. It has been abandoned by its administration, which proposed more cutbacks to the Council than had been asked of it, thus causing long-term harm to our working conditions.

Do you also think they are useless because they have not managed to overcome the autocratic behaviour of the DGs' administration? It is true that many decisions are taken without consulting the staff and its organisations. However, the unions fight on a daily basis for staff to be involved in the decisions affecting them. This is a long-term battle for influence, as we have to persuade the management to adopt new managerial practices. The resistance is immense, and changes take time.

What is more, the European project has to be a central concern and we have to defend the quality of the men and women who work to that end: it is probably U4U's personal hallmark to highlight repeatedly why the European Union needs a strong, competent and independent civil service. The decisions taken since 2004 must not end in failure by contributing to job insecurity and introducing a U-turn that destroys skills and motivation, stripping any substance from the job and depriving the organisation of its greatest strengths: its skill and expertise.

That is the reality of the union representation at the Commission: working below the surface, little visibility, perseverance, constant instruction through all our publications, and ultimately, practical changes and improvements that the staff do not necessarily know we are responsible for.

One thing is certain, without the unions there would be nothing standing in the way of the whims and vagaries of the politicians, whose goals are purely electoral and short term. The unions are still a bulwark against excess and abuse. They are also the necessary expression of a democratic game of checks and balances. Social dialogue guarantees this right. It is a right, one that must be applied wisely, but a right that will be lost if we do not fight to make sure it is respected.

You, the people who work for this Civil Service, are aware of the energy that has to be expended to explain, again and again, what we do and why we do it.

So read the union messages. Make your choices. Please read, now and always, as we struggle with the challenge of expressing a complex situation in just a few words. Read and discover the truth for yourselves, rather than listening to rumours and being carried away by your emotions. Become a genuine participant in our destiny and a well-informed advisor to those who decide for us when they should be deciding with us.

Then, perhaps, you will finally be convinced that the unions are useful for something.

And if you are unable to join this handful of colleagues fighting for a better administration, then lend them your support. At the professional elections, vote for those who are like you and share your opinions and ideas. Support them financially by joining up.

* Only 41 full-time exemptions are granted to lead the OSPs and staff committees, to report on their work on numerous and often complex subjects, to represent 35,000 colleagues, spread across the Member States and in more than 150 countries outside the EU.

U4U is an active trade union, which stays in close contact with colleagues thanks to workplace meetings, including meetings outside Brussels, and participates in negotiations with the administration. We have an up-to-date informative website, we publish regular newsletters, which are routinely translated into English, and we defend you individually before the administration and before the Civil Service Tribunal.

All that costs money. Help us to bear the cost.

If you are not yet a member of U4U, join us – we need your support!

If you are already a member, upgrade your modest membership fee of €15 a year to a support contribution of €60 a year.

We need your financial support. Help us to defend your interests, propose more acceptable staff management policies and challenge measures which will have a lasting adverse effect on staff.

To join and/or switch to the support contribution, use this form on our website or contact us (list of contact persons below).


U4U at your service
Georges Vlandas, Président

Jean-Paul Soyer, Secrétaire général

Fabrice Andreone (General Affairs, information, legal issues),
Jacques Babot ('Over 50' file and pensioners, GRASPE),
Ute Bolduan (Outside Union)
Paul Clairet (intellectual debate),
Trémeur Denigot (GUDEE, co-editor of Education européenne),
Tomás García Azcarate (External relations, editor of GRASPE),
Patrice Grosjean (dossier Agents contractuels)
Gerard Hanney Labastille (Luxembourg site),
Agim Islamaj (monitoring of statutory issues, limited duration contracts),
Victor Juan-Linares (Organisation, proximité)
Philippe Keraudren (Restructurations, Executive Agencies)
Alain Liberos – interinstitutional Affairs
Pierre Loubières (ICE),
Sazan Pakalin (Ispra),
Gregor Schneider (Regulatory Agencies)
Kim Slama (Statutory affairs)
Bertrand Soret (EEAS, HU),
Georges Spyrou (European Schools),
Brunhilde Thelen (relations with USHU)
Catherine Vieilledent-Monfort : relations avec le monde associatif
Sylvie Vlandas (Training, COPAR)
Carmen Zammit (issues concerning the post 2004 reform).

Secrétariat : Elli Sfyroeras
Tel interne: 69 671

Vos délégués dans les comités paritaires

CCR Bruxelles: DENIGOT Trémeur, Ispra: PAKALIN Sazan, HUBERT Lenka, GRUBER Adrienn
DGT Luxembourg : BORG Carmen, GARRONI Brigid
FPI : LIAMINE Alessandro
JUST : DI STASI Marilena
OIB: TOUT Brigitte, PANDUCCIO Antonio
OP : BRITES NUNES Margarida, MIZZI Joseph
REPRESENTATIONS : ACABADO Pedro  (Bureau Lisbonne)
RTD: KERAUDREN Philippe, CM: COSTESCU Alexandru Sorin, RTD Orban: DUMONT Yves

Oui, j'adhère !                   Yes, I join !


Union for Unity AISBL, 23 rue du Cardinal Bruxelles

éditeur responsable: Georges Vlandas

équipe de rédaction : Bertrand Soret, Georges Spyrou, Olivier Brunet, Philippe Kéraudren, Victor Juan Linares, Fabrice Andreone, Sylvie Vlandas, Kim Slama, Gérard Hanney, Sazan Pakalin, Agim Islamaj, Yves Dumont, Stéphane André, J.-P. Soyer


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