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19/01/2017 | Commission's anti-leak strategy

The Commission's 2017 work programme has a promising title: "Delivering a Europe that protects, empowers and defends". The FEDERATION naturally warmly supports those political goals. But, to maximise the chances of success, the Commission needs to engage staff in delivering that programme. To do so, it would be wise for the Commission to show the way by making it its new year's resolution for 2017 to apply those noble aims within the institution by: Delivering a Commission that protects, empowers and defends staff! There's much work to be done. We are currently a long way from that goal… Indeed, the situation keeps getting worse, in particular following the 2014 Staff Regulations reform. Each time that it needs to put in place new rules for staff, via a decision or general implementing rules, the Commission always favours a restrictive, even punitive, approach. For example: The priority of the new selection and employment policy for Contract Agents is to make savings at all stages at the expense of those amongst us with the least job security. Another example is the "Anti-leaks" strategy, that the trade unions and staff committee fortunately managed to block last September. To refresh your memory, we attach the communication denouncing that pernicious initiative. The draft rules on professional incompetence focus exclusively on repressive aspects, providing for downgrading and dismissal without a word about prevention. Those are just three examples. The full list would be too long… On those three issues, and in general, the Commission is less generous with, and its rules less favourable to staff, compared to other institutions, despite the fact that they all are implementing the same Staff Regulations. At the apex of the pyramid, when former Commissioners, or even the former Commission President, are subject to public scrutiny (as in the Barroso et Kroes affairs) for far more serious issues of professional ethics, the Commission shows itself to be much more accommodating and ready to smooth their path… The Commission must change its attitude: bending down before the powerful while bullying the weak augurs nothing good for the future. Respecting its duty of care for staff is not a luxury that may be dispensed with but a legal obligation and an essential means to give new energy to our European civil service. The FEDERATION dearest wish for 2017 and the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty is that the College will pay more than the minimum attention to its staff. President Juncker, who has to date not yet met once staff representatives, could finally find the time to listen to their concerns and show that he is interested in the fate and future of all staff categories.
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