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Save DG Translation Petition to the European Parliament

PREAMBLE

Sent to European Parliament by
Michael ASHBROOK of German nationality, residing at 9 Burewee, Toernich Arlon, B-6700, Belgium

Current plans to restructure DG Translation include two destructive ideas. The first is the plan to reduce the number of units per language from three to two.

This will inevitably entail a split in some units of the DG into a Brussels section and a Luxembourg one as the present staff are not evenly distributed between the two sites. This will serve as excellent ammunition for the Euroskeptics. More importantly it will lead to extra travel expenses at the same time at which the translators are facing a total of 26.5% cuts to their benefits in the name of austerity. Tons of additional CO2 will be released by the transportation of people across the 200 km that separate the two capitals, rather than to the other side of the corridor.

It will also mean that 22 of the present Heads of Unit will no longer have a proper job. Instead they are to be redesignated as "cross-cutting advisers", basically a non-job.
Whereas previously they have been translating and revising as well as heading their units, in future they will do some very nebulous task until they get fed up and look for something else. So a plan to save money and concentrate more on translation will actually cost money and reduce the number of translators. There is, of course, no plan to reduce the number of heads of department or directors even though these are both relatively recent creations. At one time the Service de Traduction managed without either of these superfluous levels of management.

The second bad idea is to dissolve the unit that is dedicated to translating www content into the native languages of EU citizens. Incredibly, we are told that nothing at all will change because the transferred colleagues will continue exactly as before, only in their language departments. But it is impossible to change the structure of DGT without also affecting its function, leaving us to wonder about top management's motives. The planned reduction of efficiency can certainly be used as an argument in favour of privatisation. It is unlikely that our compulsive privatizers will miss this platinum opportunity.

In the absence of any democratic rights at work, the ex-www-translators will be bullied into devoting more and more of their time to translating whatever mismanagement declares to be most urgent. The availability of websites in languages other than English and, perhaps, French is bound to decrease. Taking a long view, this development is dangerous for the EU's future because the Euroskeptics recruit the bulk of their voters among the less educated, those Europeans who honestly cannot understand EU texts in any language but their own. By dissolving its www-translation-team, the Commission is forfeiting the political match against its opponents on the lower right. More than half of the citizens will hear and read only the chauvinistic populists' side of the European story because their level of English and French comprehension is not high enough to begin to understand our complex discourses. Future historians may well take the Commissions retreat from a multilingual www-presence as the beginning of the end of the European process.

All of the above actions go completely against the multilinguism priorities of Commission where it is stated: "We must support not just the EU's 23 official languages but Europe's 60 regional and minority languages"

Those of us who want to preserve and improve DGT need to act resolutely. We are not alone because the Commission's plans run counter to what the majority of MEPs want. The European Parliament's Committees on Budgetary Control, Environment and Culture need to hear the translators' side of the restructuring story asap. The easiest way to communicate with the EP is through a formal petition which includes the request to have the three specialist Committees involved in the debate.

We have heard of vague management threats of disciplinary action against colleagues who contact the European Parliament. Not to worry, the right to petition is enshrined in the Treaty, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and in Parliament's Rules. Feel free to report such illegal bullying to ashbrmi@pt.lu. There is no need to whimper for mercy or to lapse into craven apathy because asking for Parliament's support is the first step towards obtaining it.

Created by: admin last modification: Tuesday 10 of July, 2012 [11:39:34 UTC] by admin

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