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Europol is the European Unionís law enforcement agency. Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands

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Staff cuts at EUROPOL

 

 

Staff cuts at EUROPOL

We have been informed by members of our trade union within Europol, that the Commission has proposed significant savings in the context of the budget 2020 negotiations for Europol which will translate in a near future into a significant reduction of CA posts. It seems that following the consultations with the Management Board of Europol, a need to cut more than 70 CA positions was communicated to the staff of the agency.

The information we receive is not in line with the Europol Programming Documents for the years 2019-2021, adopted by the Europol Management Board, which explain the necessity for further staff growth and development over the coming years in light of increased security concerns, inter alia, in the area of terrorism prevention and migration management. Following the request of our members, we have organised a General Assembly and met with the Management of Europol who kindly accepted to meet us. During the General Assembly it became clear that the lack of a clearly defined policy for contract agents, the absence of clear criteria for contract renewal and the uncertainty about their future are producing massive frustration and demotivation in their daily work. During the meeting with Management, we addressed those issues and offered to help in establishing a sustainable staff policy together with the responsible Commission services. If staff cuts concerning Contract Agents would really be necessary, such cuts must be accompanied by measures allowing colleagues to pursue their career within the organisation and allowing the organisation to retain highly qualified colleagues. Such measures could include the conversion of contracts into Temporary Agent contracts or the organisation of an internal competition.

We have sent letters to the Director Generals of DG BUDG, DG HOME and DG HR asking for clarification (see below). We will analyse their responses against the background of feedback received by staff and the operative needs explained by Europol. In September, another General Assembly will be organized at Europol and we will invite Management to discuss potential measures and developments.

Letter sent by U4U to Mr Koopman, Mrs Souka, Mrs. Michou

We have been informed by members of our trade union within Europol, that the Commission has proposed significant savings in the context of the budget 2020 negotiations for Europol which will translate in a near future into a significant reduction of CA posts. It seems that following the consultations with the Management Board of Europol, a need to cut 71 CA positions was communicated to the staff of the agency.

The information we receive is not in line with the Europol Programming Document for the years 2019-2021, adopted by the Europol Management Board in November 2018 (EDOC#924131v19), which explains the necessity for further staff growth and development over the coming years in light of increased security concerns, inter alia, in the area of terrorism prevention and migration management.

We would like to know whether it is true that such staff cuts were proposed by the Commission and we would like to receive more information about the policy considerations underlying the proposed staff cuts.

Kind regards,
Georges Vlandas
President

01/07/2019

Answer by Mrs Michou (10/07/2019)

Dear Mr Vlandas,

Thank you for your message. Europol plays a key role in responding to the migration and security crisis. In this context, its resources have been substantially reinforced over the past few years.

The Commission is fully aware of the importance of Europolís staff in delivering on its mission. This is why staffing needs are paid particularly close attention to in drafting the Commissionís proposal for the EU budget.

The number of contract agents authorised for each agency, including Europol, is indicated in the EU Budget, and is part of the key information for the Council and the European Parliament as budgetary authorities when agreeing on the annual EU contribution for the agencies. During the preparation of the Commission proposal for the Draft Budget 2020, it was established that Europol had recruited a substantial number of contract agents beyond what was planned in the Agency budgetary statement published by the Commission in May 2018 in the course of the 2019 budgetary procedure. When adopting the Europol Programming Document 2019-2021 that includes the resource estimate for 2019, the Management Board did not withhold the number of Contract Agents planned in the Agency budgetary statement (and decided to have 232 CAs). This issue will be addressed in the next Management Board of October.

The adopted Budget as authorised by Parliament and Council, as you are also aware, is the sole basis that the Agency needs to follow in this respect. A gradual phasing-out plan has been developed in order to minimise the impact on the colleagues working at Europol, while maintaining the high quality in performance of operational activities. Notably, the Plan extends over a three-year period to reflect the temporary nature of engagement of Contract Agents by allowing sufficient time for adjustment. The Plan is part of Working Document III of the Commission proposal for the Draft Budget 2020 and may be consulted (page 317).

I understand that Europolís Executive Director has met U4U representatives and explained, among others, that Questions and Answers for staff are being prepared. I also understand that the Europol Staff Committee is involved and that the Management Board in October will receive and discuss a comprehensive overview. I would like to reassure you that the Executive Director has my full support in ensuring that the gradual phasing out of the contracts will be done in a manner, respectful of the rights of colleagues at Europol.

In relation to the Programming Document, in line with Article 58.8 of Europolís founding Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of 11 May 2016, Europol's budget shall become final following the final adoption of the general budget of the Union. Where necessary, it shall be adjusted accordingly. This means, in case of any discrepancies, that Europolís planning documents (including the Programming Document) shall be adjusted to reflect the figures from the documents of the general budget of the Union.

Let me reiterate the Commissionís continued support concerning Europol, which is also reflected in a sustained high level of the EU contribution and the staff numbers in the Draft Budget 2020.

Best regards
Paraskevi MICHOU
Director-General

Answer by Mr Koopman (10/07/2019)

Dear Mr Vlandas,

Thank you for your message. I would like to provide you with the following considerations, in line with the reply given by the Director General of DG HOME (Mrs Michou) to a similar question yesterday:

Europol plays a key role in responding to the migration and security crisis. In this context, its resources have been substantially reinforced over the past few years.

The Commission is fully aware of the importance of Europolís staff in delivering on its mission. This is why staffing needs are paid particularly close attention to in drafting the Commissionís proposal for the EU budget.

The number of contract agents authorised for each agency, including Europol, is indicated in the EU Budget, and is part of the key information for the Council and the European Parliament as budgetary authorities when agreeing on the annual EU contribution for the agencies. During the preparation of the Commission proposal for the Draft Budget 2020, it was established that Europol had recruited a substantial number of contract agents beyond what was planned in the Agency budgetary statement published by the Commission in May 2018 in the course of the 2019 budgetary procedure.. When adopting the Europol Programming Document 2019-2021 that includes the resource estimate for 2019, the Management Board did not respect the number of Contract Agents planned in the Agency budgetary statement (and decided to have 232 CAs). This issue will be addressed in the next Management Board of October.

The adopted Budget as authorised by Parliament and Council, as you are also aware, is the basis that the Agency needs to follow in this respect. A gradual phasing-out plan has been developed in order to minimise the impact on the colleagues working at Europol, while maintaining the high quality in performance of operational activities. Notably, the Plan extends over a three-year period to reflect the temporary nature of engagement of Contract Agents by allowing sufficient time for adjustment. The Plan is part of Working Document III of the Commission proposal for the Draft Budget 2020 and may be consulted (page 317).

I understand that Europolís Executive Director has met U4U representatives and explained, among others, that Questions and Answers for staff are being prepared. I also understand that the Europol Staff Committee is involved and that the Management Board in October will receive and discuss a comprehensive overview. I would like to reassure you that the Executive Director has my full support in ensuring that the gradual phasing out of the contracts will be done in a manner, respectful of the rights of colleagues at Europol.

In relation to the Programming Document, in line with Article 58.8 of Europolís founding Regulation (EU) 2016/794 of 11 May 2016, Europol's budget shall become final following the final adoption of the general budget of the Union. Where necessary, it shall be adjusted accordingly. This means, in case of any discrepancies, that Europolís planning documents (including the Programming Document) shall be adjusted to reflect the figures from the documents of the general budget of the Union.

Let me reiterate the Commissionís continued support concerning Europol, which is also reflected in a sustained high level of the EU contribution and the staff numbers in the Draft Budget 2020.

Kind regards,
Gert Jan Koopman

 

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