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No Forced Labour in the EEAS


No Forced Labour in the EEAS

Much has been written about the new EEAS. Some of the sillier statements included references to the "general interest" of the 500.000.000 EU citizens. When did you last see half a billion people from 27 countries agree on something beyond "2+2=4"? There were also the usual references to the "Community method" and the "independence" of the EU Civil Service. It would be nice if such things existed, but the 27 EU governments still tightly control the selection of candidates for the Commission. The European Parliament has so far managed to filter out two government candidates, out of a total of fifty something, so the EU has hardly advanced a quarter of the way to the goal of civil service that answers to its citizens, rather than to the national governments. In the complete absence of industrial democracy the dependence on the appointing politicians easily spreads from the top of the hierarchy to most of the service.

Much of what has been written is obviously true; the laughable notion of remaking the EU into an international superpower without spending an extra EURO, or, heavens forbid, creating a single extra job. If the Member States were serious about that ambition they would act differently, but they don't and they aren't.

In the "Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION of (date) establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service" we find food for thought. Article 6(4) discusses innocently how "SNEs are put at the disposal of the EEAS in order to provide specialised expertise" and Article 6(9) reassures us that EEAS staff selection "shall be based on merit and on the broadest possible geographical basis, in conformity with the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants, with due regard for gender balance." But then we are surprised to in Article 6(10) read that "When the EEAS has reached its full capacity, staff from Member States should represent at least one third of all EEAS staff at AD level."

It says "should" and not "must", but the writing is on the wall. Article 6(3) says that our Staff Regulations "shall apply to the staff of the EEAS". Article 27 of which says that we, the officials, are recruited according to the "highest standard of ability, efficiency and integrity, recruited on the broadest possible geographical basis from among nationals of Member States". The only way to make sense of this nonsense would be to assume that the 27 Member States have been holding back superior staff in their own diplomatic services and that they will now generously loan us those geniuses for up to eight years. But it is not about making sense, just about grabbing as much power as possible so that 27 national governments can cram their hand-picked appointees into EEAS positions.

And that brings us back to one of SID's favourite topics; the way people can enter our service as temporary agents without sitting any exam at all. Once they are in, it is their right to sit the internal competitions where the success rate is around 25%, rather than 25 per mil, as in the external competitions (see 1).

National government have spent the last fifty years happily manipulating our service. The fuss over the EEAS is more of the same. If there is a hope to limit the extent of the new damage, then it lies with the European Parliament.

There is another serious concern over how Article 6(8) foresees to transfer people along with their jobs from the Commission to the EEAS. For colleagues aged 50+ this transfer will never be entirely free will because they have no other options on today's job market. It is off to beautiful Lagos, or to the dole queue. What ever happened to the spirit, if not the letter of Article 5(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; "No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. (see 2 )"? What about common sense and decency? Fear of unemployment makes people do many strange things, but will it really be enough to transform them all into world class international diplomats?

The colleagues being transferred should enjoy at least the level of protection offered by Transfer of Enterprises Directive (see 3 ). The standards of the EEAS must be at least as high as those imposed on companies. There is always the Court of Justice, you know.

Michael Ashbrook
SID President

S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans

SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Monday 12 of April, 2010 [20:48:06 UTC] by admin

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