No Xy Lo
n°28 - 26 February 2013
Special Internal Promotion Competitions
Internal promotion competitions: a step in the right direction, but more is
Harassment at the Court of Auditors
• Small mistake on the part of the IMF
• Document: Democracy in Europe
• People’s initiative: Let’s call for quality European education for all
• Humour: What a load of bull!
Foreword: Internal promotion competitions: a step in the right direction, but more is needed!
The Commission recently stated its intention to organise an internal promotion competition before summer. The aim of this competition, for which the unions have been calling for 4 years, is to begin to reduce the disparities introduced by the 2004 reform and to find a solution to certain precarious situations.
To this end, the Commission has put on the table around 350 positions, essentially for the ADs (see the following file). The unions have managed to achieve a certain level of anonymity for the tests, so that they have been extended to cover some of the ASTs, a category initially excluded by the administration. Likewise, the administration has allocated additional positions, so that the opening up of the internal promotion competitions to temporary workers won’t reduce the number of opportunities offered to post-2004 staff. U4U, which is in favour of a position of solidarity across the generations and categories, has also expressed its desire to optimise "cascade" actions as far as promotions are concerned. As far as U4U is concerned, every effort must be made to preserve the unity of the personnel and the institution in the face of the trials which await us.
However, the different positions adopted by the unions and the College’s lack of vision have meant that it has not yet been possible to change the test. In the absence of an agreement involving all the staff organisations, the administration has unfortunately gone back on some of the achievements made by various negotiators, including U4U, which is a pity.
What we effectively achieved in the talks was the promise of two internal promotion competitions in 2013, with over twice as many positions as a result, plus an interim end-of-year progress report suggesting how the exercise might be continued in 2014. We also obtained the promise of a short anonymous written exercise in place of the oral exam. Also, in the light of the opinion of the U4U legal section, we explained that it is possible to also hold competitions for the ASTs above AST4 grade: our position is that a classification of an AST 4 as an AST 6 after an internal competition cannot be regarded as a new appointment (which Staff Regulations prohibit for ASTs above grade 4). And lastly, the administration stated that it was prepared to hold internal promotion competitions for the ACs following the adoption of the new Staff Regulations.
U4U believes that it is not yet too late to improve the text now tabled by the Commission, thanks to rediscovered unity on the part of the unions. This is a responsibility shared by the College and the unions: nobody wants to see disparities which will be exacerbated by the new reform perpetuated. Everybody is aware of the limits arising from the budgetary reductions imposed by the Council. We won’t be able to achieve everything, but we must all do as much as we can, without reservation.
So – let’s transform the test!
How internal promotion competitions are used:
everything you always wanted to know about internal promotion competitions, but were afraid to ask
These competitions are to be held 2013. The administration is leaving the door open for further competitions in 2014, although no commitments have been made.
Eligibility criteria to take part in the competitions
- You must be a
staff member or a temporary staff member; this excludes all other statuses
(contract agent, SNE, temporary worker, local agent)
- You must be working in one of the Commission departments at the time of submitting your application for one of the internal promotion competitions; this excludes personnel attached to other institutions, bodies or agencies. Don’t forget that the European Parliament also holds internal promotion competitions, with different rules;
- You must be in one of the grades covered by the internal promotion competitions;
- You must have worked for the Commission for at least two years in one of the categories covered (AD or AST), whatever the level of the competition.
Levels and professional experience requirement of the internal promotion competitions
- The competitions are held at the following levels and with the following professional experience requirements:
Internal promotion competition – Adviser
Minimum grade required
Minimum relevant professional experience
Internal promotion competition – Administrator
Minimum grade required
Minimum relevant professional experience
Internal promotion competition – Assistant
Minimum grade required
Minimum relevant professional experience
Internal promotion competitions fields
- The five fields for the competitions for AD10 and AD12 are as follows:
• Smart and
inclusive growth (research, education, transport, energy, social affairs,
regional policy, enterprise, information society, EMU);
• Sustainable growth, natural resources (agriculture, fisheries, environment, climate change);
• Security and citizenship (justice, internal affairs, health, consumer protection, communications);
• Global Europe / representing the Union externally (development, trade, expansion, humanitarian aid, external dimension of internal policies);
• Human resources and budgetary management, coordination.
- The four fields for the competitions for AD7, AD8 and AD9 are as follows:
• Policy design and management, programme management, project design;
• Human resources and budgetary management, coordination, communication.
- The two fields for
the competitions for AST4 are as follows:
• Resource management (human, financial, ICT, equipment, communications);
• Programme, project and contract management.
- For competitions for AST3, the Commission has selected the one area of “Director’s Office secretariat”.
Number of positions to be filled
- The number of
positions to be filled is 60 for each of the following grades: AD7, AD8, AD9,
AST3 and AST4. It will be 40 for AD10 and AD12 respectively.
- The total number of positions will be 340, across all the competitions.
Language system for the internal promotion competitions
We have not yet received any precise information on the language situation.
However, the likelihood is that the Commission will suggest that the EPSO language system be used for the institutional competitions:
• CBT for the ASTs: in the 23 languages (the CBT may be professional);
• EPSO Talent Screener for the ADs: this stage will probably be run in French and English with German as second language.
• Interview: Second language from the following: French, English, German
This language system has yet to be confirmed.
- There is a pre-selection stage for the AD7, AD8, AD9, AD10 and AD12 competitions, using the "EPSO Talent Screener". This entails the panel assessing the quality and relevance of their professional experience against a scoring table decided upon by the same panel.
- There is a pre-selection stage for AST3 and AST4 based on "Computer Based Testing" (CBT). At this time we are not yet aware what the CBT will consist of: a test of competencies, numerical or verbal reasoning or indeed abstract reasoning? We prefer a competency test.
The "EPSO Talent Screener": how does it work?
The Talent Screener is used in theory for procedures designed to select specialists. It consists of a series of questions which the candidate must answer when registering online. The anonymous answers are assessed and scored by the panel.
In specialist competitions, the selection criteria are set down in the competition instructions and are seen as "assets criteria "(which are not the same as eligibility criteria). They are used to assess the professional experience of the candidates on a qualitative basis, with the emphasis on the substance rather than the length of the professional experience.
The "EPSO Talent Screener" used in the external specialist competitions will probably be transferred to the Commission’s internal promotion competitions. Note: it is a good idea to check the specialist competition using the talent Screener.
Criteria, questions and sub-questions
The criteria are set down in the competition instructions. They are turned into questions which require a yes/no answer. If the answer is yes, a second question is put to the candidate which he/she must then answer. The second question is very important, as it will allow the candidate’s professional experience to be assessed.
Criterion: Professional experience in the field of project management with a budget of over 500,000 EUR.
Question: Have you any experience of managing such a project?
Second question: If so, please give the details of your exact role in the project, the size of the project, the resources managed throughout the life of the project (staff, budget), the project stakeholders, the organisation and governance of the project.
Characteristics of the criteria/questions
The criteria must
With a view to classifying the candidates in an effective manner and not overloading them with too many questions, it is important that there should not be more than 8 to 12 criteria/questions per field.
Ranking of candidates
Candidates are ranked according to a two-stage process:
Each criterion is evaluated by the panel according to the importance attached to it. Grading is from 1 to 3:
• 1 for a basic criterion;
• 2 for a very important criterion;
• 3 for a criterion which the panel believe to be of crucial importance.
Each candidate’s answers are scored by the panel on a scale from 1 to 4. The panel will be required to create a scoring table before assessing the answers.
Production of supporting evidence
It should be borne in mind that before the results are published, the candidates will be asked to produce documentary proof of their qualifications and professional experience, but they must also provide evidence in support of their answers to the "talent screener" questions. Candidates unable to produce these documents will be excluded from the final list.
- Competitions for
AD7, AD8, AD9, AD10 and AD12: this consists of an interview by the panel based
on a presentation made by the candidate. We have no further details about this
at this time. It would seem that the candidate will have to make a presentation
on some subject for the first part of his oral test and the interview will then
proceed with the normal question-and-answer procedure. We are as yet unclear as
to whether the candidate will choose a subject at random, or the panel will
directly give the subject to the candidate.
Nor do we yet have any further information on the time the candidates will be allowed to prepare the presentation;
- For the AST3 and AST4 competitions, there will be a simple interview with the panel, without the presentation required in the selection stage of the other competitions.
Reclassification stage and addition to a reserve list
colleagues in the AD7, AD8, AD9, AST3 and AST4 competitions will be reclassified
as far as their positions are concerned, according to the grade they achieved in
- Successful staff members in the AD10 and AD12 competitions will be added to a “Advisers” reserve list and may be appointed to Adviser positions. They cannot be appointed to Unit Head positions on the basis of these competitions;
- Temporary Staff Members who have been successful in one of these competitions may apply for and be recruited for vacant positions in the same category as that of the competition in which they have been successful.
Internal promotion competitions – probable schedule
We are not as yet in possession of the exact schedule, but the limited information we do have on the procedures is as follows:
- Completion of
draft competition instructions by the DG HR;
- Opinion of the Joint Committee (CoPar): the DG HR must submit the internal promotion competitions drafts to this authority for its opinion. This opinion is not open for discussion and the Appointing Authority passes the competition instructions;
- Publication of competition instructions: March/April 2013;
- Preselection stage (CBT, talent Screener): before the end of July 2013;
- Selection stage (panel interviews): from September 2013;
- Publication of results: before the end of 2013;
- Reclassification (AD7, AD8, AD9, AST3 and AST4 competitions) and adoption of the reserve list (AD10 and AD12): before the end of 2013.
This schedule will have to be stated in exact dates and confirmed.
In compliance with attachment III of the Staff Regulations, 50% of the members of the panel for each competition are appointed by the administration and 50% by DG HR.
The panel supplies a reserve list for each competition. This is adopted by the appointing authority.
Calls for improvements by U4U, not accepted by DG HR at this stage
U4U proposed that these internal promotion competitions be improved in such a way as to partially remedy certain disparities created by the 2004 Staff Regulations. We proposed the following changes:
- A second round of
competitions in 2014 as a minimum;
- The adoption of internal promotion competitions for contract staff, once the Staff Regulations are amended to allow this;
- AST competitions at higher levels: our legal section is of the opinion that this is not a matter of recruitment but a reclassification procedure, so that the restrictions applied by the Staff Regulations do not apply to AST4;
- More positions for all of the competitions;
- Funding to be provided for competitions for additional positions, and not to be drawn from a levy on the promotion procedure;
- A formal written test;
- The preselection stage of the AST competitions to be aligned with that of the ADs (EPSO Talent Screener) or a selection procedure based on multiple-choice questions concerned with the candidates’ professional competencies.
Please feel free to contact us for any further information: REP-PERS-OSP-U4U@ec.europa.eu
Training for EPSO competitions by U4U
Check out the training courses for AD competitions here: New sessions
AD competitions –
As a result of the success of the upgraded training sessions we are now offering 3 new training sessions for small groups (Max. 12 people):
• Friday April 12,
1.30 pm – 4.45 pm: Training in the verbal reasoning test, correction and exam
• Friday April 19, 9.00 am – 12.15 pm: Training in the numerical reasoning test, correction and exam preparation.
• Friday April 19, 1.30 pm – 4.45 pm: Training in the abstract reasoning test, correction and exam preparation.
Solidarity: Europe throws in the towel
A great victory was won by the February European Council as regards the next multi-annual budget: every manager goes home with the announcement that the bureaucratic monster of Brussels has been defeated and the little present which his country in particular enjoys has been preserved (discount, CAP or another structural fund). In all honesty, this is just hot air, because these savings represent a mere 0.8 per thousand of the EU GDP, or €0.06 per year per head of the population of the Union.
The European budget contained programmes which directly benefited the people, and these have unfortunately been axed. An example is the youth guarantee, intended to facilitate their entry into the workforce. The sum of 6 billion euros has been earmarked for this goal for the years 2014–2020, in other words, for the entire period, not per year. But how much is the average unemployment rate of 25% for 18- to 35-year-olds, with peaks of 55% in Greece and 45% in Spain, costing Europeans? The trifling sum of 150 billion a year! The campaign for solidarity via the European budget stands at 0.04% of the actual cost of the phenomenon over the seven years of the multi-annual financial framework.
Another example is the European food aid programme for the most deprived (MDP) which fell from 3.5 billion for 17 Member States to 2.5 billion euros for 28 Member States! Now that we have reduced a huge number of Europeans to the unemployment scrap heap through recession policies, many of whom have been thrown out into the street, we can’t even spare them a bowl of soup and a crust of bread!
But the examples are too numerous to count – the Erasmus budget in deficit, so that over the period only 4 million students can benefit instead of 5 million, Horizon 2020 research budget slashed by 12%, sacrificing future economic growth, and on, and on. How can we fail to notice the shocking imbalance between the billions raised for the banks and the weakness of European support for those in greatest need? Surely, fury is the correct response to such conditions? These managers are the same people who voted for this multi-annual budget and then feign astonishment at the rise of populism and nationalism in Europe. Yet how can anyone possibly feel pro-Europe?
Not good, but is it a surprise?
The European barometer on “bad weather” [Belgium]: 29% of European citizens have a negative or very negative opinion of the European institutions.
When the regulated sits on the Board of the regulator, is there a conflict of interest?
The European Parliament hosted a Workshop entitled Better avoidance of conflict of interest on 21 Feb 2013. MEPs pointed out that a handful of the more than 30 EU-based agencies – commission offshoots – are currently embroiled in conflict-of-interest issues. Dutch Liberal MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy drafted the parliament’s position on agencies. He said some are hiring questionable outside experts to draft reports: “We simply cannot allow that experts who are also dealing with a certain company are saying whether a certain product of this company can enter the European market.”
Conflict-of-interest standards in the agencies are based on guidelines established by the Paris-based economic club, the OECD. The standards apply to staff, but rules governing external help like consultants are non-existent.
Gerbrandy said that the management board at the German-based European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is composed of national authorities who compromise the agency’s independence. The EASA is one of four agencies that came under the Court of Auditors' scrutiny in an October 2012 report on conflict of interest. An EASA spokesperson denies the charge. He said that everyone on the management board is working for the sake of aviation safety alone: “The individual interest comes always after the interest of the public in safety. I don’t think anyone would prioritise their own interest.”
Court of Auditors: the newspaper Libération exposes a bullying scandal in the offices of a member of the Court.
which the European Court of Auditors, the body responsible for monitoring Union expenditure and policies, has refused to penalise.
Small mistake on the part of the IMF(!)
In a working paper published on January 3 2013, IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchart publicly acknowledged the fact that his institution was wrong in its assessment of the "impact multipliers" as regards the effect of the reduction of public deficit on the GDP! For Greece, for example, these multipliers have turned out to be +/- 1.7 instead of the original estimate of 0.5!
What this means is that a reduction of 1 €, would lead to a GDP reduction of €1.7, rather than the €0.5 originally estimated! And since the deficit is measured as a ratio against the GDP and the denominator of the ratio falls more quickly than the numerator, then the ratio – the public deficit in other words – rises rather than falls! And the vicious circle has no end!
This throws a great deal of light on the "contribution" being made by the austerity policy to the current crisis, and in particular to the responsibility of the FMI and the other supporters of this policy to the increase in unemployment and the impoverishment of the people affected by it.
This phenomenon is not, of course, limited to Greece, but is to be found everywhere that this policy has been applied, and particularly in this disastrous way. We now see how all the southern EU countries where this policy based on incorrect multipliers has been applied are locked into an unprecedented recession! And this economic crisis which mainly makes itself felt by a noticeable drop in demand as far as the consumption of goods and services is concerned, is also spreading to the nations of the North.
Who could ever have imagined that in the EU of the twenty-first century, people aspiring to achieve in due course the average Community income level would have gone backwards to such an extent that they are burning their furniture to keep warm in these winter months?
But an increasing number of people, including economists and in particular – at last – politicians, are adopting staunch positions against this policy. We are not saying that we are absolutely opposed to deficit reduction policies (and the inevitable debts which follow). But in addition, and at the same time, concrete policies in support of growth must be implemented. And given the fact that the majority of our States are, indeed, in debt, it is only the European Union which can implement these new growth policies!
It is essential, and even vital, for this movement to advance and grow, and for it to quickly make its presence felt as the mainstream action in the EU. We must see it at the upcoming national and European elections. Our politicians are only interested in public opinion. It is crucial that the IMF and the other organisations repair the damage they have inflicted on the people.
The Heads of State and Government, who took the decision on the EU budget for the period 2014–2020, missed their chance to endow the EU with sufficient resources to implement the kind of Community policies which are likely to save our skins. All we can hope for is strong action from the Parliament. But this is unlikely to happen with a Commission still pressing for the agreement to be ratified and the austerity policies to be pursued.
Document: Democracy in Europe
Speech by Mario Monti in French on January 31 at the Bozar when taking
questions (minute 41 of the discussion) inviting the governments to accept their
share of responsibility for the decisions taken jointly in the interests of each
and every one of the Member States.
On the matter of the budget (minute 50 of the discussion) he said: "There could be no consistency between all the talk about growth and the adoption of a budget which is not in any way in support of it."
People’s initiative: Let’s call for quality European education for all
The initiative calls for the creation of an Education platform designed to stimulate a debate on how to improve schools and boost the European dimension of Education in line with the EU’s 2020 strategy. “Europe’s future depends on Education, how to educate citizens, how they learn. Common education goals reflecting European basic values should be at the heart of a solution to today’s challenges,” declared Ana Gorey, President of MEET.
“As young Europeans are the ones who will build the Europe of tomorrow, it is essential to begin building a common European identity. I thus invite you to join me in supporting this initiative that will help strengthen this common identity which Europe needs,” declared Henri Malosse, President of the Employers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee which hosted the ceremony for the launch of the campaign.
Click here to see the petition and sign it
In the bottom left corner of the page, click on Support
HUMOUR: What a load of bull!
We are told by the Belgian press (check out this week’s Télémoustique) that: "The CAP is spending €2 per day per cow." The cost of the European public service is €0.021 per day per person. In other words, a cow is worth 100 public servants.
Instead of cutting the number of public servants by 5% (- 2,500 across all the institutions), we could have reduced the number of cows by 25: that would have been better for the public service, for the environment, for our health (we’re eating too much meat), etc.… although maybe not so good for the cattle.
Our bosses chose the 25 cows.
UNION FOR UNITY – U4U
Éditeur: Georges Vlandas
Rédactrice en chef : B. Thomas
Comité de Rédaction: J.-P. Soyer, F. Andreone, R. Marquez García,
P. Clairet, A. Islamaj, S. Vlandas
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