An interview with a Member of the European Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee, in May 2014, reveals unchanged reality in 2018.
“..the reform of 2014 fulfils none of the public expectations. Yet, however, nobody has really realised it. Also, up till now, nobody has realised the fact that this reform is set in stone until 2023 – nb: it is the only EU benefits regime that is valid beyond the year 2020. (…..) It is a grave error to discuss and decide everything concerning staff matters behind closed doors!
“I regret that no analysis has been undertaken on the results achieved with the reform in 2004. No debate took place – neither in Parliament nor in any other EU institution – about what aims should have been achieved with the 2004 reform. No audit from the Court of Auditors was available on the effects of previous reforms. Everybody’s only concern was not to let the topic go public. In the Parliament the results of the negotiation in 2014 were never discussed in plenary. The President of the Parliament decided to pre-pone the vote in plenary that was initially scheduled on Wednesday, 3rd July 2014, to Tuesday, 2nd July 2014. No discussion – not even in the group meetings – was possible any more. So, most of the colleagues who voted on the reform did not know what they were voting on at all.
“As the rapporteur of the Budgetary Control Committee I tried to make proposals aimed towards aligning responsibilities and managerial duties of officials with their respective salaries as well as the promotions that they were and now still are entitled to. Furthermore, already in May 2011, I tried to make other proposals that would have solved some of the more urgent problems.
“The magical argument during the debates that I often encountered, the reason to refuse all changes to the pre-2004-generation’s entitlements, was the protection of “vested rights” or as we call it in Germany “Besitzstandswahrung”. I would have been very interested in having an in-depth legal study conducted about this and other bogus arguments that ‘legally’ prevented, and even prohibited – at least so I was told – changes to the Staff Regulations that would have endangered the status quo of (some) public officials.
If I look at the content of the 2014 reform, it is obvious that high-grade officials who designed this reform tried to put the whole burden of cuts on the lower grades and on to the “new generation”. They followed the same intrinsic rules as the creators of the 2004 reform did: Après nous – le deluge!!!”
The full interview is available here
Brussels, 19 March 2018