An EU civil service fit for the 21st century
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič gave a speech in praise of the European civil service on Thursday, highlighting the hard work of Commission staff and defending his proposals for streamlining the EU public sector.
In his speech at a breakfast briefing organised by the European Policy Centre, V-P Šefčovič tried to explode a few of the myths surrounding EU civil servants. Few people know, for example, that there are just 56,000 EU civil servants, of whom around 30,000 work for the Commission – making the whole EU administration smaller than some national ministries!
V-P Šefčovič also highlighted the value-for-money offered by the EU civil service – the entire EU budget costs each European less than 70 euro cents a day, and the civil service costs less than 6% of that total amount! Most EU money is not spent on institutions; it is invested in people, in projects, in regions, in farmers or in businesses across the European Union.
As the Commissioner responsible for administration, V-P Šefčovič also led negotiations with staff and unions on reforming the EU civil service, in line with cuts to many national administrations prompted by the economic crisis. He has proposed cutting staff numbers by 5% and increasing both the working week and retirement age, among others, which will save around €1bn. But he warned that calls for further cuts would threaten the ability of the EU civil service to do its job properly: "The 5% cut in staff that I propose will make savings of roughly €1bn; it doesn't take a genius to work out how many more staff we'd have to lose to reach even the €5bn mark – just do the math!"