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Background to the CENTENO case

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Background to the Centeno case.



As several people will be aware, the EU institutions are of the opinion that the Staff Regulations (and rules in general), must only be followed by the staff, whilst the institutions can afford themselves to pick and choose what to apply and when.

This goes, of course, with their "liberty" to pick and choose what rules they will apply, how to interpret them in different situations and how to apply them (if they choose to apply them).

An example of the latter situation was demonstrated in 2004 (before the 1st May) when the Commission decided to contravene article 10 of the staff regulations that were in force at the time: "The (Staff Regulations) Committee shall be consulted by the Commission on any proposal for the revision of the Staff Regulations".

In fact, it was even worse, much worse: The Committee had been consulted on certain proposals for revision of the Staff Regulations, their approval was acquired for the proposed revisions but the Commission submitted to the Council a -significantly- different text than the one approved by the Staff Regulations Committee.

An example of the former situation was demonstrated in the period after 1 May 2004, when the EU institutions decided to not apply article 31 of the staff regulations: "Candidates selected shall be appointed to the grade of the function group set out in the notice of the competition they have passed".

Instead, an exception rule that had been hastily and irregularly devised and included in the annexes of the new Staff Regulations was used as a pretext in order to recruit people that were successful in competitions published and finished long before the new regime, under completely new conditions than the ones described in their notices of competition and –in fact- even contrary to article 31 of the new Staff Regulations that –supposedly- governs recruitment.

In fact, the text used for their recruitment was (surprise-surprise) the very text that had never been presented to the Staff Regulations Committee in the form included in the Staff Regulations.

Obviously the same rule would have to be applied to a number of "own kids" and well connected laureates. But no problem, the Commission is not deterred by such silly details: These individuals were recruited on a Friday afternoon on 30 April 2004 and thus the new staff regulations didn't need to be applied to them. Voila, problem solved.

Since the second half of 2004, a great number of people that entered and passed competitions with clearly defined conditions of possible employment, but ultimately recruited between two and four grades lower than they should have been, took the Commission to Court to seek justice.

However, the Court of First Instance, when judging the Centeno case (which happened to be the first that was submitted to the Court), seeing the irregularities that had been committed, elected to disregard a great amount of the evidence that was submitted to them and give a ruling based on dubious interpretations of the law, in order to avoid an unfavourable ruling for the institutions at any cost.

Of course there were people who believed that the Court is there to do justice and not to implement politically dictated decisions but their numbers was not –exactly- increased after the Court ruling.

The people behind the Centeno case, with the active support of several hundreds of other officials and many Unions appealed to the Court of Justice, which, based on the evidence, had no other choice but to admit the case. The hearing took place on Thursday 19 June 2008 and many people were there to look the judges in the eyes.

Every single legally educated person that has been consulted has no doubts at all that this is a very clear cut case: Justice vs. implementation of political diktat.

Strangely perhaps, there still exist people, even within the institutions, that believe that the Union is not only law-making institutions but also law-abiding entities. We will see what will happen to their numbers when the ruling will come, sometime towards the end of the year.

arrow Flash Report of Appeal Hearing Centeno 'v' Commission in Court of Justice

Created by: admin last modification: Monday 14 of July, 2008 [20:05:53 UTC] by admin

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