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Wondrous future career and employment implications for British Staff within the Institutions

UK withdrawal from EU and Scotland withdrawal from UK and the career and employment impacts of them on British Staff within the EU Institutions and Agencies


The Treaty of Lisbon introduced an exit clause for members who wish to withdraw from the Union. Under TEU Article 50(external link), a Member State would notify the European Council of its intention to secede from the Union and a withdrawal agreement would be negotiated between the Union and that State. The Treaties would cease to be applicable to that State from the date of the agreement or, failing that, within two years of the notification unless the State and the Council both agree to extend this period. The agreement is concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council and shall set out the arrangements for withdrawal, including a framework for the State's future relationship with the Union. The agreement is to be approved by the Council, acting by qualified majority(external link), after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament(external link). A former Member State seeking to re-join the European Union would be subject to the same conditions as any other applicant country.

Moreover, last year Mr Cameron and Mr Salmond (Scotland’s First Minister) signed a deal for Scotland to hold a Referendum on whether Scotland will leave the UK. The referendum must be held no later than the end of 2014(external link)." The implication of Scotland leaving the UK for our Scottish Staff here in the institutions needs to be clarified.

• Would the new country be considered as already part of the EU or would they need to reapply for EU membership like other third countries?

Additionally, following the declaration of Mr Cameron, the British prime minister regarding the possible future Referendum on whether UK should stay in Europe, a group of British EU officials have developed a list of questions regarding the consequences of a British withdrawal from the European Union and Scotland's withdrawal from UK:

• Would our employment as officials be terminated as a result of UK leaving the EU or Scotland leaving the UK?
• Would our EU Commission pension rights be affected?
• Would our residency rights in EU member state countries where we work be changed?
• Would our rights to free movement within the EU be affected?
• What changes will be applied to other Britons, be it in the private sector or in the EU public sector, living and working in the EU?
• What are the likely options for redeployment, if as a result of UK leaving the EU a British Official's/Contractual Agents' employment is terminated?
• What measures would be foreseen to accompany that person in looking for a new job?
• What would the possibilities be for a redundancy package?
• What would happen in the case of officials with dual citizenship?
• Would there be a requirement to have acquired a second EU citizenship a minimum number of years before the secession? Would such a requirement also apply to residency in an EU Member State?
• Would the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities still apply to retired British Officials/Contractual Agents, or will they have to pay UK taxes on their EU pensions?
• Will there be any changes to the pensions of British EU Officials/Contractual Agents from the side of the EU Institutions at and after secession?
• Will British children have the right to attend the European schools after secession? If so, under what conditions could they continue to attend the European schools after secession? Will school fees increase for them?
• Will those children already in the European Schools be able to finish their educations as before secession?
• Furthermore, are Article 24, defining " the conditions necessary to enter into service of the EU institutions", and Article 47, defining "the conditions where a member of Staff's employment may be terminated" - the only articles on recruitment and termination conditions of Officials and Agents?
• Is it true that the AIPN (l'Autorité investie du pouvoir de nomination) has the possibility to waive the necessity of nationality as a criterion for becoming a permanent member of staff?

What's more we have heard, from the case of Norway in 1973, that Norwegian Officials recruited before that country's decision not to join the EU, retained all their Rights as Commission officials.

Following two attempts to get answers regarding the above questions from our Administration we have finally been given the following minimalistic answer:

…The European Union has never experienced a withdrawal of a Member State. In addition, this possibility had not been provided for in the Treaties until the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and is not directly foreseen either in the Staff Regulations. The decisions that could be taken to that regard do not depend only on the European Union, but also on the Member State in question.
1. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, in particular its paragraphs 2 and 3;
2. Articles 28(a), 49 and 83(1) of the Staff Regulations;
3. Protocol (No 7) on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union;
4. Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools, of which UK is a High Contracting Party.


In conclusion, our employer has been rather evasive about answering our pertinent questions. SID wishes to remind our Administration that according to EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR)(external link), our Administration has an obligation towards us as defined by Article 27: "…Workers or their representatives must, at the appropriate levels, be guaranteed information and consultation in good time in the cases and under the conditions provided for by Community law and national laws and practices…"

Under EUCFR's article 43 we have a Right to address our grievances to the Ombudsman and under article 44 to make a petition to EU Parliament.

Finally, we will require your support for our efforts to pursue our quest through various channels with a view to secure a clear answer to our questions for the British Staff in the Institutions.

Reza Fardoom
SID Secretary

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…)