To divide the workforce is to fight against your own interests.
Let’s work towards staff unity with clarity.
Today, U4U is forced to come out of its reserve. A number of excessive and inaccurate papers have been circulating recently, exaggeratedly and out of context denigrating the work done by staff representatives, and even pitting one section of staff against another. We believe that inter-union cooperation should not exclude substantive dialogue. This is the very basis of fruitful cooperation.
We have undergone two reforms in ten years. Our day-to-day professional life is constantly changing. Dialogue within the institution needs to be further invigorated. The new Commission will require us to make renewed efforts to deal with the negative situation prevailing in the Union today. In this context, staff unity becomes even more necessary. To achieve it, it needs good dialogue.
U4U believes that staff can only be defended in a unified manner. By dividing the workforce, some are defending a policy whose results have already hurt the entire workforce. It’s time to set the record straight and apportion blame.
A few facts first
Staff as a whole are the victims of the last two reforms of the Staff Regulations, which they fought and which they are suffering. The increase in disparities and job insecurity was intended by the Member States and by some of the Commission’s leaders. To claim that the unions, or even all the staff already in place, have been complicit in this is bad faith and misinformation.
At the time of the 2004 reform, the unions also sought the support of certain leaders of the new Member States to avoid pay disparities, without success. The same approaches were made to other Member States, also without success.
While the cost of this reform was largely borne by staff taken on after that date, it was all staff who were significantly affected (for example, a substantial increase in the crisis levy, paid more by the most senior employees, a review of retirement conditions, the abolition of a number of facilities, etc.).
The number of fixed-term and indefinite-term contract employees has multiplied, increasing disparities. We forget that job insecurity is the first form of inequality. The second is the process of professional downgrading that affects all categories of staff, whether civil servants or contract staff. Downgrading means that colleagues with more professional experience, qualifications and diplomas than the posts on offer are recruited at lower grades.
The new reform of 2014 has had a profound effect on existing staff and has created new disparities for staff recruited since 1 January 2014. The political and economic context, the weakness and mistakes of the Commission, and the ambivalent attitude of the EP, have made it possible to circumvent the resolute opposition of staff and turn social dialogue into a farce. Unfortunately, certain ideas have been detrimental to staff and have allowed highly questionable objectives to be pursued. These ideas are back in the public eye today. So we need to debate them again.
A disastrous political line, dangerous behaviour for the European civil service
The propaganda of some clearly aims to divide staff, proposing to take from some in order to give to others, or even to favour certain categories to the detriment of others.
In line with this line, while the Member States and the administration were discussing the contours and content of the reform, certain union leaders were lobbying the Permanent Representations and their Member States to limit the careers of ASTs and ADs. Their aim was to free up a budget to increase ADs’ income at the beginning and middle of their careers. These leaders did not understand that these new measures were going to hinder the careers of officials recruited after 1st May 2004 much more than those of the most senior staff, by seriously limiting them. Naturally, the Council pocketed the resulting budget savings without passing them on to staff at the start of their careers. It is a tragic lack of political experience to have thought it would be any different.
Similarly, some have attacked the European civil service pension system, claiming, against all evidence, that it has problems. Here too, the aim was to transfer money from current or future pensioners to new generations of civil servants. Unfortunately, the result is well known. The Member States have indeed attacked pensions… but those of the younger generations, who now have to work five years longer to be entitled to the same percentage of pension. These pensions will generally be based on lower salaries, as a result of the restrictions on access to the end of one’s career that they have worked to achieve. The policy pursued by some has clearly done a disservice to the careers of the younger generations it claimed to defend.
Finally, they attacked colleagues at the top of the pay scale. It is not by attacking the highest salaries that we will increase lower salaries. On the contrary, the result will be a generalised fall in salaries, since it will be necessary to pass on the fall at the top of the pay scale to the lower levels in order to maintain a coherent pay scale.
Defending the civil service in all its diversity, but also in unity
Some of these unions advocate an approach to demands that focuses on a particular workplace or a single category of employee, or even part of that category, without considering the consequences of their actions for a majority of colleagues, or for another part of the same category. This approach is of course detrimental to mobilisation, as the absence of a unifying approach leads to indifference on the part of some towards others in the best of cases, or even to opposition on the part of some towards others, as is unfortunately often the case.
U4U believes, on the contrary, that it is possible and essential to fight together: civil servants with contract staff, for example, to reduce job insecurity, which is a poison of the civil service; ADs and ASTs together for their careers and for the introduction of a personnel policy; new colleagues and old colleagues against disparities and for stimulating careers from the moment they join the service, etc.
U4U not only advocates such an approach, it practices it, and sometimes it is crowned with success, especially when we succeed in promoting an inter-union approach to objectives, as was the case, for example, with the issue of contract staff. In this case, civil servants and contract staff, both unionised and non-unionised, joined forces within the Collectif des contractuels to put forward demands that took into account the interests of staff, departments and the institution as a whole; the latter can only suffer from the rise in precarious employment, if only because of the turnover.
Some people’s demands are rarely linked to the interests of the institution and the defence of European integration. U4U considers that the defence of staff is inseparable from that of the institution and its role in European integration.
A lack of ethics
When you divide staff, pitting one against the other, without taking into account the point of view of all colleagues, when you break with the esprit de corps of the European civil service and denigrate it in the eyes of its adversaries, when you systematically resort to insults and insults, which are frequent at trade union meetings, then you are clearly characterised by a lack of ethics.
When you betray the spirit of your institution by going behind its back, as you did during the discussions on the latest reform, when you seek the graces of the powers that be by speaking directly to the administrations of the Member States, recommending measures against staff that the latter would not even dare to imagine, then you are lacking in ethics and professionalism.
A category-based trade union approach does not make it possible to develop unifying demands, enabling staff to fight together. By pitting one section of staff against another, it weakens them and plays into the hands of those who seek to undermine their cohesion, the better to impose demagogic reforms with serious consequences for the quality of work and the future of the European project.
By refusing to show solidarity and by attacking certain categories of staff, instead of blaming the policies of certain States, which are the real culprits behind the new Staff Regulations, we are harming the interests of all staff.
All the unions are preparing a seminar for mid-November to consider joint action to reduce disparities and job insecurity. Let us hope that this debate will reach a positive conclusion and lead to joint, supportive and effective action.
What we propose to the new Commission
The President of the Commission and the European Parliament are mobilising to give new impetus to European integration and to meet the expectations of European society.
This cannot be done without mobilising and motivating the staff of the institutions. Staff must therefore be involved in the changes underway, in order to gain their support.
The 2004 and 2014 reforms of the European Civil Service Staff Regulations have worsened working conditions, created disparities and fostered job insecurity, etc. In addition, structural reforms (outsourcing, reorganisation, relocation, etc.) have made processes more complex and the job more difficult.
For several years, U4U has been making constructive proposals to remedy this situation.
In the short term
Here are some ideas for dealing with immediate problems while motivating staff. In the current political and economic context, there is no miracle solution. What is needed is a combination of measures that can be implemented quickly:
Internal reclassification competitions for ADs and ASTs: 1,000 more successful candidates than the 350 awarded last year;
- Internal competitions for ACs and reclassification exams for ACs of all grades (see also the call from the Collectif des contractuels);
- Specialised external competitions for grades AD 7-9 and AST 5-7 to give an opportunity to highly qualified people with a lot of professional experience (including CA staff in delegations or agencies);
- Maximum use of the possibilities offered by certification instead of the current restrictive policy;
- Transparent management of end-of-career access;
- Full use of the budgetary resources defined by the Staff Regulations for promotions, including the carry-over (cascade) of unused promotions.
These emergency measures are essential to restore confidence, even if they cannot replace the definition of a solid human resources policy with medium and long-term objectives, defined after a well-structured social dialogue.
In the longer term
Social dialogue should focus on defining this policy before moving on to discuss the more concrete elements: recruitment, mobility, integration, etc.
This longer-term approach should be based on the following elements:
- Implementing a policy of active human resources management, talent identification and career monitoring.
- Grading on entry to the service must take greater account of professional experience and be harmonised across all services and institutions;
- Opportunities for promotion and mobility must be part of an approach designed to increase staff motivation and skills. This mobility must be inter-institutional, between offices and agencies, and to and from the central services of the institutions. To facilitate mobility, it is important to take into account the seniority acquired in the various departments in subsequent careers;
- A new human resources management policy should allow less precarious management of contract staff. Colleagues should have access to fixed-term and/or indefinite-term careers in central or peripheral departments, following a single selection procedure common to all categories of contract staff;
- The organisation of an inter-institutional job market, through the publication of posts, should guarantee transparency and fluidity in recruitment.
- A genuine training policy must be put in place, both on entry into service and throughout a person’s career.
How can the difficulties encountered by staff representation be resolved?
10 theses to move forward!
Staff representation is in crisis
This crisis is multi-faceted. It is therefore difficult to give a full account of it. We can only raise the first questions and provide the beginnings of an answer.
Responses and actions can only be collective. The debate, initially internal to the unions, must be broadened to include all staff, because ultimately it is all staff who are affected by the players in their collective professional defence.
The purpose of this paper is to initiate a debate that will lead to further reflection and lines of action. We suggest 10 theses, identifying as many problems to be resolved. This may still seem like a summary, but we have to start somewhere.
- The political context for trade union activity in the institutions is bad. European integration has stalled and is even heading in the wrong direction in some areas. The EU no longer seems as useful to citizens in providing answers to the problems of the day. The functioning of the institutions, their role, is suffering. Collective action is less easy as a result.
- The difficulties of staff representation are also linked to its political isolation. The unions have neither political relays nor operational connections with European unions. Two unions, including U4U, have such European trade union links. But the programmatic and operational effectiveness that could result from this would need to be improved, for both U4U and the other union.
- Secondly, there is a programmatic, project and methodological deficit. Public service unions are not proactive enough. U4U is trying to fill this gap, by promoting a body of theory through its publications and by improving trade union practice, that of proximity and of a force for constructive proposals. But U4U still needs to improve and, above all, to involve all staff representatives more effectively in this process.
- Then there is the question of the relative weakness of the training and experience of union staff, including practical experience. In addition, trade unions have very little independent external expertise, unlike in Member States where the employer contributes financially.
- Obtain resources for independent external expertise.
- Obtain sufficient resources to train employee representatives.
- The meagreness of the resources allocated by the institution to staff representation: barely 44 service exemptions for 13 trade union organisations representing 35,000 colleagues in more than 150 countries within and outside the Union and running 8 staff committees, in addition to the Central Committee. These resources are made available to the central apparatus of trade union and statutory staff representation. Nothing is provided for the DGs, some of which have more than 2,000 staff spread over at least three sites.
- To obtain 70 exemptions, including 10 at large DG level and 20 at trade union level.
- Elsewhere, as in Seville, there is not even a staff committee. There are no exemptions for staff representatives in the Executive Agencies. The Agencies are not represented on the Commission’s Central Committee, which increases their isolation, while staff are subject to rules decided at Commission level. Lastly, the human and material resources made available to staff outside the Union (HU), who are scattered across more than 140 countries, are clearly inadequate, and these staff are under-represented on the Central Staff Committee.
- Create a staff committee in Seville.
- Strengthen the non-EU staff committee.
- Integrate the agencies’ staff committees into the Commission’s Central Staff Committee.
- The current crisis in staff representation is also due to our employer. It is conducting social dialogue in a hasty manner (by not creating the conditions for effective consultation), gives too much priority to the top-down method, and does not seek to involve staff in the management of change, etc…
- Obtain rules for more sincere and effective social dialogue.
- The crisis is also fuelled by the dispersion of trade union forces (more than 10 organisations in the Commission: US, R&D, Conf. SFE, U4U/USHU, FFPE, TAO, SE Brussels, SE Luxembourg, AD Luxembourg, SID, G-04, SFIE, etc.). This creates a certain cacophony. It is necessary to gradually encourage a reorganisation of the trade unions, which also means regrouping them.
- Raise the representativeness threshold at local level from 5% to 7%.
- Raise the representativeness threshold at central level from 6% to 9%.
- The organisation of elections at local level every year exacerbates competition between unions and poses a number of problems. For example, it took 5 months to set up the bureau of the CLP Brussels, at the cost of rotating presidencies (3 in three years). The CCP board has still not been set up, because of problems in Brussels, then in Ispra, then in Luxembourg, then in the HU. It may finally be set up at the end of November in Ispra, following the election of the Luxembourg local committee, but not yet completely, as problems remain in the HU.
- Hold the staff committee elections all at the same time,
Marking against one’s own side
Letter from G2004 proposing new savings measures to the detriment of staff, on the occasion of the reform of the Staff Regulations (May 2013)
Reform of the Staff Regulations: letter from U4U to Generation 2004 concerning the letter they sent in November 2012 to the permanent representatives. U4U regrets the positions taken, which give weapons to the Council against the European civil service.
R&D’s letter of 22 Feb 2013 commenting on the same letter.
Open letter sent on 14 January 2013 by STEFAN GRECH (elected to CLP Brussels for G-2004) to the Maltese Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition (Malta is currently in an election campaign). The letter was copied to the editors of Malta’s main newspapers, all Maltese MEPs, Malta’s permanent representative to the EU and all Maltese officials within the institutions.
Behind austerity, people
Greece’s drastic austerity policy has its martyr. Dimitris Christoulas shot himself in the head in Athens’ central square. In his farewell letter, he says: “The government … has literally wiped out my chances of survival, which were based on an honourable pension for which I paid (all my life) … I can think of no other solution than a dignified end, before I start looking in the dustbins for food. I think that one day young people with no future will take up arms and hang the traitors in Syntagma Square, just as the Italians did with Mussolini in 1945. If this suicide has moved the whole of Greece, it is because it symbolises a 45% increase in suicides in the space of a year.
When economic policies prefer to impoverish an entire country rather than reorganise the finance that is at the root of the crisis, they cease to be legitimate. The state becomes a Moloch that devours its citizens. It is high time we remembered that a democratic state is an instrument at the service of the people, that national austerity policies must be counterbalanced by stimulus measures at Community level to prepare for the future and give hope, before Christoulas’s call to arms finds an echo. This risk exists: a demonstration outside the European Bank headquarters in Frankfurt turned into a riot on 31 March, and this is not the only time that violence has occurred during recent protests.
Authoritarian temptations in Europe? Please, Europe, come back!
The current economic crisis is sometimes compared to the Great Depression of 1929. In the years that followed that crisis, democracy was undermined in favour of authoritarian movements. And authoritarian movements always make their bed on the despair of those whose future looks bleak.
If there is a lesson to be learned from the past, it is that those who agreed to sacrifice democracy in the belief that they were fighting corruption, improving the economy and guaranteeing order, only ended up with more corruption, a war economy and, in the end, the absolute disorder of war and its ravages.
An authoritarian regime is no guarantee of an efficient state. On the contrary, it removes the possibility of criticising it and making it evolve other than through sudden and inevitably bloody crises. The current events of the Arab Spring are a reminder of this.
Authoritarian temptations are emerging in Europe. Hungary, a member of the European Union, is an emblematic case that should seriously worry those who think that our states are immune to the diseases of the past.
In Hungary, a party that came to power democratically like others in the 1930s is perverting democracy. It is muzzling the media, criminalising the opposition in the name of the communist past, and bringing to heel all the checks and balances (central bank, constitutional court, etc.). At the same time, it is introducing mechanisms that will make any democratic changeover virtually impossible, as well as any change in economic policy.
This package of measures is accompanied by the more than dubious re-establishment of the moral order (measures against homosexuals, abortion, etc.) as well as dangerous decisions such as the one aimed at recognising Hungarian nationality for Hungarian minorities in other countries. This revisionism of history, this Hungarian irredentism, is fraught with consequences for its neighbours and therefore for the Union as a whole.
The whole thing is set to an all-too-familiar tune: chauvinism, retaliation, mythical values such as the “purity of the nation” or the “sacredness of the land, divine blessing on the nation”, all very useful for making people forget that the economic balance sheet is already catastrophic.
Finally, on 17 January, the Commission “courageously” announced that it would be launching infringement proceedings against Hungary for “breaches of the independence of its central bank, data protection and the independence of the judiciary”.
It was the least she could do, and we approve of Jose Manuel Barroso’s statement to the European Parliament that “urges the Hungarian authorities to respect the principles of democracy and freedom and to implement them in practice in this country”. But this is too little in view of the threat posed by this government to the European values to which its country subscribed when it decided to join the Union. What a pity that they are only really moved by the loss of independence of their central bank… What a missed opportunity (again!) for Europe to show with the necessary strength and conviction that it is guided by a grand vision of democracy.
Hungary is not alone in flirting with the most revanchist chauvinism! Identity-based withdrawal, often disguised as Euroscepticism, is on the rise just about everywhere, as is a return to the old recipes of the 1930s.
History teaches us that we cannot compromise with authoritarianism: it is imperative to provide a rapid and strong political response, starting with an economic response that gives people hope.
The powerlessness of our governments, which are incapable of thinking in terms of “Europe”, weakening it de facto, accentuating its governance deficit, fuelling its permanent constitutional crisis and, alas, its stubbornness in advocating ineffective economic measures, is helping to panic the public and drive them to seek simplistic solutions from demagogues.
There is an urgent need to find a European response to the crisis, to remember our mutual duties of solidarity, a commitment to which all members of the Union have subscribed. Solidarity is a fundamental value of European integration. The founders knew only too well that barbarity feeds above all on its absence.
U4U cannot remain silent in the face of these excesses that can be observed just about everywhere in our Member States. U4U will always be there to remind us of European values, the cement of our societies and the basis of the European project to which we are working. U4U will always be there to remind our governments and the Commission that it is our duty to defend and uphold these values.
These values are not only to be protected in the name of the past and for fear of its resurgence. These values must be promoted in the name of the present and the future, of the new geopolitical landscape, of the state of the planet, of the global challenges we have to face together.
We need a Europe that works in solidarity and for the benefit of all. We do not want a Europe based on the permanent power struggle inherent in the intergovernmental method. The intergovernmental method increases inequalities, has constantly shown its limits and inefficiency, and will lead to the disappearance of Europe and its values.
We must therefore work together to recreate the conditions for shared progress. In this way, each of our Member States will regain its dynamism in a Europe that once again serves the common interest.
1 See Reuters, AFP, Le Monde.
A platform for a Europe of solidarity was launched following these initiatives.
Solidarity, at the heart of the renewal of the European project
The text below, written following the U4U Bureau meeting on Monday 24 January 2011, following a working meeting initiated by R&D, will be presented by U4U at an inter-union meeting to try to take charge of this citizens’ initiative in the most open and united way possible, which is essential to its success.
Such an initiative is necessary both to face up to the difficulties currently experienced by the construction of Europe and to defend a strong, competent, permanent and independent civil service at a time when convergent attempts of an intergovernmental nature are pressing to weaken it.
It is also necessary to give staff reasons to be proud of their status and their mission.
From the outset, solidarity was intended and conceived as the heart and driving force of European integration. Not out of blissful idealism or to put the market ahead of citizenship, but out of necessity.
A necessity, first and foremost, to reconcile nations and peoples who had been at war with each other for so long. A necessity that is now necessary, or rather should be, to face up together to challenges and new international players, for whom no European country is equal to the solutions to be devised or the decisions to be taken.
How can we ensure the preservation of the European social model, which combines freedom, collective solidarity and social progress in a fragile balance, at a time when the “West is shrinking” and is faced with increasing scarcity of resources, fierce competition for access to these same resources, the necessary economic redeployment imposed by both globalisation and sustainable development, and an accelerating ageing of its population – particularly in Europe? How, in fact, if not through actions taken at the level of the European continent, increasingly reduced to its dimension as a peninsula of Eurasia?
At a time when the need for solidarity is becoming ever more pressing, it is being called into question by two simultaneous developments: the international economic crisis and its transformation into a euro crisis, on the one hand, and the establishment of the intergovernmental machinery resulting from the Lisbon Treaty, on the other.
Through the international financial crisis and the resulting crisis of the euro, the economic crisis is having a double deleterious effect on the solidarities that were emerging, and sometimes developing, in the collective management of interdependencies between European countries and peoples.
The crisis in the international financial system is condemning Europe to several years of austerity, which its social model of collective solidarity may not survive. Austerity has an immediate cost: the €750 billion that Europe’s political classes have taken from people’s purchasing power to buy time with speculators, most of them Anglo-Saxon. Then there is the permanent cost, with the planned dismantling of the common heritage of all European citizens – public services and social solidarity mechanisms – a dismantling that will be accompanied by a lasting and steady decline in the purchasing power of the middle and working classes alone. The resulting lasting and widespread impoverishment is presented as the key to maintaining the competitiveness of European economies. This is, to say the least, a partial presentation, since it aims above all to conceal the incompatibility between the amount of the financial commitments made by European governments to the “financial markets” and the European values expressed in the successive European Treaties: human dignity, democracy, freedom, equality, and so on.
The euro crisis, for its part, is increasing the risk of the European Union being “dismantled”, because it is accompanied by a return in force of national egoisms. Since 2008, it has been the Member States that have made a comeback after having bailed out the banks and… their neighbours. Under pressure from the populist movements that always emerge and flourish in times of crisis, governments are giving priority to national interests alone at the expense of common European interests, and are increasingly giving in to sovereignist reflexes: this temptation to ‘go it alone’ is based as much on overconfidence in one’s own strengths as on distrust of those of others.
of others. This attitude of withdrawal is increasingly accompanied by criticism, if not questioning, of the institutions that both express and promote the European project and the common interests it represents. For example, some Member States have regularly targeted the European Central Bank, despite the fact that the latter has been able to use its independence to the benefit of all to manage the crisis. Others have attacked the Commission, despite the fact that it has only timidly reiterated the importance of a permanent crisis management mechanism. As a result, even in the economic and monetary sphere, which lies at the heart of the European project, Europe operates on an intergovernmental basis: power struggles and short-sighted steering rarely lead to lasting effectiveness and solidarity. The most effective Member States, however, have realised that the euro is also “their” currency: by setting up a permanent crisis prevention and management mechanism, they have shown solidarity while imposing their “stability culture”.
Through its impact on the very existence of the euro, the crisis is in the process of overturning the rules of the European game. The seventeen members of the eurozone, as well as their neighbours within the European Union who are worried about the fate of the European currency, have finally understood how crucial the existence of the euro is to individual and collective stability. All of them now agree to find a lasting collective response by strengthening the mechanisms of budgetary discipline and economic consultation. Even if we are still a long way from the fiscal federation that the ECB President is calling for, a new Europe is emerging. Two questions remain unanswered: will the edifice, built on the basis of the balance of power imposed by the intergovernmental mode, be sustainable? Will the obvious absence of a “European spirit” enable this edifice to fulfil its mission?
It would be illusory to find an answer to these questions with the establishment of the intergovernmental machinery resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon. In fact, this mechanism runs counter to developments in the world towards greater economic globalisation and political multipolarity.
At a time when these developments call for even greater solidarity in defining and asserting common interests on the international stage, this Treaty reverses the trend that has prevailed in all the European Treaties since the Treaty of Rome: a convergence from the random intergovernmental, built on the balance of power, to the Community, structurally built around the pursuit of the common interest. With Lisbon, the principle of “ever closer union” is called into question. Lisbon saw the unravelling of Community solidarity in favour of a soft but now structured intergovernmentalism. The establishment of the European External Action Service illustrates this desire to dilute solidarity: this real-false progress takes the form of a sort of permanent Congress-of-Vienna bringing together, through a conglomerate of national diplomats, increasingly uncertain common wills and increasingly assertive individual desires.
The European Parliament is now the main, if not the only, guardian of the Community approach. The European Civil Service, still independent despite the blows dealt by the “Kinnock reform”, remains an effective tool in the service of the common interest.
However, the former is increasingly susceptible to the ukases of national capitals, since it cannot rely on transnational European parties to ensure its independence. The second, because it is now faced with the prospect of being brought to heel by various means: marginalisation through an increase in the number and permanence of contract staff, calling into question the statutory and material conditions of this independence, etc…
Is it too late to halt the unravelling that has been underway since 2004 and has been in the pipeline since the mid-1990s? Is it still possible to restore this ‘European spirit’ based on solidarity, a shared vision, economic and social cohesion and the common interest?
In order to provide an answer to these two questions other than that of identity-based fatalism and the sovereignist retreat of inter-governmentalism, the undersigned are launching a call for a collective remobilisation of all those who promote solidarity in Europe…
So that the Union becomes once again, not a coalition of States, but a gathering of Peoples.
So that the “peoples of Europe” are effectively called upon by their governments to form an ever closer union, while respecting the powers delegated by the national governments to the institutions of the Union (art. 1 TEU), and so that the “citizens of the Union” are effectively represented in Parliament in the development of European policies (art. 14 TEU).
- For the nomenklaturas and national oligarchies to stop obstructing the formation of European political parties, allowing them at last to contribute to the formation of political awareness and the expression of the will of the citizens of the Union (art. 10 TEU).
- For the choices resulting from the renewed expression of this democratic legitimacy to be guaranteed by a European Civil Service that is independent of all national pressure groups and sectoral interest groups, and therefore also serves the common interest.
- For the necessary restoration of European economic competitiveness to be accompanied by the organisation of a debate, at European level, with all European citizens on the ways and means of rebuilding a model of social cohesion.
- For the Union to have the critical mass required both to defend the common interests of its citizens on the international stage and to have a say in devising solutions based on solidarity and fairness under new rules of global governance.