Other Commission staff
By contrast, new executive agencies are able to take over a large part of non-core tasks under a policy of externalisation. As the Commission set out in a communication in December 1999, this new policy approach is designed to help deal with the consequences of inadequate control of the Technical Assistance Offices (TAOs) which contributed to the early resignation of the Santer Commission. The idea is for the Commission to resume effective control of the agencies' executive and auxiliary activities. Under the staff reform, the new and existing agencies (except the Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions in Dublin) have been included in the Staff Regulations Committee of the EU institutions, so as to strengthen cooperation between institutions and agencies on personnel policy in the interest of the effective use of human resources.
Similar tasks have been entrusted to three new Administrative Offices set up in January 2003. These tasks are aimed at rationalising the day-to-day management of administrative and support services. In transferring part of its tasks, the Commission is seeking to increase the effectiveness of the delivery of these services. Vice-President Neil Kinnock said: "By increasing visibility and responsibility, rationalisation will improve the way the Commission provides essential services such as pay and social support to its staff. This will contribute to higher performance, free up permanent staff for work on core activities and ensure financial savings, without any loss of accountability."
The offices carry out a number of tasks, which have been provided by DG ADMIN up to the end of 2002:
- The Office for the administration and settlement of individual
entitlements (Paymaster's Office) is responsible for determining,
calculating and settling individual financial entitlements (pay, mission
expenses, sickness and accident insurance, pensions, reimbursement of
- Two "Infrastructure and Logistics" Offices - (in Brussels, OIB, and Luxembourg, OIL) are responsible for all activities associated with the implementation of buildings policy, the management of office space, the housing of departments, maintenance and technical works, security services, purchases, supplies and inventories together with internal logistics and services.
Policy decisions and decisions of principle in areas covered by the Offices will continue to be taken by the Commission (or DG ADMIN), but their implementation will be up to the Offices.
The three Offices remain under the responsibility and supervision of the Commission, but benefit from a significant degree of management autonomy. They are headed by a Commission official (reporting to a Board representative of their main clients in the Commission), who is responsible for setting their operational targets, and controlling the implementation of their functions.
Headed by a director, who is a permanent Commission official, each agency is staffed by detached Commission officials and new contract staff.
In addition, a further interinstitutional Office has been set up for selection of staff for all EU institutions, EPSO, the European Personal Selection Office.
Council Regulation (EC) No 25/2003 of 19 December 2002 laying down the statute for executive agencies to be entrusted with certain tasks in the management of Community programmes (OJ L 11 of 16 January 2003)
Rules for implementation of the new Financial Regulation for the new offices: Commission Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2343/2002 of 23 December 2002
To make it possible to concentrate the Commission's work on its core tasks, a new type of staff, contract staff, has been created.
The following detailed rules are new:
- Contract staff work primarily in offices and agencies not carrying out core tasks;
- in those agencies, they perform all tasks, including tasks of Administrators (AD) and assistants (AST) function groups under supervision of Commission officials;
- however, contract staff in category A are not able to rise to management level (advancement possible only to a level of responsibility equivalent to an AD 10/3 official);
- contract staff continue to be employed in all EU institutions for work currently carried out by D-grade officials;
- in the Commission representations inside the EU and in the delegations outside the EU;
- Contract agents replace the current auxiliary staff
There are two types of Contract agent:
- "3 a" contract agents ("Non core tasks"): contract of 5 years maximum, renewable once, may be followed by indefinite employment contract. To work in Agencies and Offices (all levels, up to a salary equivalent to grade AD 9) and to replace ALAT staff and local agents (transition period rules for local staff, see below). Former category D equivalent CA can work in the Commission services.
- "3 b" contract agents ("Auxiliary tasks"): work on the basis of contracts for a fixed period of not less than three months and up to a maximum of three years, replacing Auxiliary staff in the Commission (see below)
The following rules in the Conditions of Employment have been approved:
- the career structure for contract staff is similar to the reformed system for officials. Since contract staff also carry out the tasks of present D grades, the career structure has 18 grades, i.e. two more than the system for officials. Each grade has seven steps. Contract staff cover not only a more comprehensive range of qualifications, but also a broader spectrum of forms of employment, ranging from short-term contracts to lifelong employment. Accordingly, the 18 grades are also divided into four function groups (similar to the former categories from A to D) covering very specific job specifications such as kindergarten staff and messengers.
- Remuneration commensurates with their duties and in accordance with the extended career structure, to enable continuous career advancement. This includes improved social security compared to present auxiliary staff. The ceiling is the same as the net salary for the present grade AD 10, step 3 (about € 5 325, including expatriation allowance but not including family allowances).
- Contract staff are covered by the Communities' social protection system and, like temporary staff, benefit from unemployment insurance and are covered by the Communities' pension scheme and sickness insurance scheme.
- Contract staff have access to training programmes offered by the EU institutions, and
- are also covered by an appraisal system along the lines of the system proposed for officials.
Auxiliaries to be phased out: with the entry into force of the new Staff Regulations, the Commission intends to phase out the use of this type of staff. In a first phase, CA will be recruited by offices and in representations in the new Member States. In the other services, CA will be recruited from 01.11.2004. From this date auxiliary contracts may be renewed, but no new recruitments will be allowed.
Given the different provisions for the various forms of staff employment, the Commission's White Paper of spring 2000 calls for standard rules to be developed for all staff. The reform therefore paid special attention to the employment conditions for officials and temporary staff working in the research arm.
The transformation of temporary posts into permanent posts in the budgetary procedure is almost completed.
Nevertheless, the revised Staff Regulations still allow for temporary and permanent posts to enable each institution to react to staffing needs flexibly and on a temporary basis. In other respects the system for temporary staff also largely continues in its present form.
Each institution is able to decide what type of temporary staff it wishes to recruit to meet its own needs.
However, as stated above, the Commission itself in future wants to employ temporary staff in permanent posts in the following cases only:
- to palliate staffing shortages in cases where competition reserve lists have been exhausted;
- for non-standard or temporary tasks;
- for Commissioners' private offices ("cabinets");
- for specific requirements in the scientific sector (see below).
Conditions of employment for temporary staff:
- Temporary agents occupying permanent posts - including in research - can have a maximum contract of 6 years
- Severance grant continues to apply for temporary staff
- Early retirement arrangements may be applied also to temporary staff
- Some temporary agents are covered by the new staff appraisal system (CDR)
- Temporary agents have the right to the same conditions as officials for parental leave and family leave
- Unpaid leave can be extended up to 12 months, depending on length of service.
There are six Directorates-General employing officials, temporary staff and other servants in permanent posts under the research budget (Research, Information Society, the Joint Research Centre, Energy and Transport, Enterprise and Fisheries). On the basis of rules dating back to 1973, the Conditions of Employment for temporary staff in research have differed from those for officials whose posts are covered by the EU's administrative budget.
In order to standardise the conditions of employment for all staff, some 'long-term temporary staff' recruited by means of competitions who have been working for the Commission for a long time and are paid out of the scientific budget, have been established (or are being established) as officials. They are thus on a par with other Commission officials, except that they continue to be paid out of a different budget, viz. the administrative or the research budget.
In addition to temporary staff in research who have passed a competition, there are also temporary staff who have been recruited under traditional recruitment rules, i.e. without passing the standard competition. In 1994 and 1996, however, rules were adopted to align the recruitment of research staff with competition requirements, and thus the gradual establishment of such temporary staff which has been going on for some years will continue until 65% to 90% of the permanent posts funded out of the research budget are occupied. Temporary staff to be established in this way, as a rule, must have worked at the Commission for more than six years and pass an internal or open competition before they can be finally established.
The present separate recruitment procedure for research staff has been abolished. New staff will be found by means of competitions held by EPSO and targeted at applicants in the scientific and technical field.
Flexible personnel policy: 10% to 35% of permanent posts will continue to be reserved for recruiting staff for tasks that are strictly limited in time (contracts running for a maximum of three years). This flexible personnel policy is designed, among other things, to enable specialist staff from universities or from other areas of research (e.g. seconded national experts) to be recruited for short periods to deal with specific requirements or urgent scientific problems (e.g. the BSE crisis).
Since the Directorates-General in question can set their own policy priorities, they must be able to handle their staffing requirements flexibly. Therefore it will be up to them to decide how they wish to use the 10-35% margin for staff with temporary contracts.
The temporary detachment of officials from the Member States and particularly from the applicant countries is expected not only to strengthen links with national ministries, but also to improve knowledge of European policies. Experts from the Member States also give the Commission rapid access to specialist knowledge - this being a need which has often been unforeseeable in the recent past and which could arise again very quickly (e.g. in the event of another food crisis), particularly since temporary officials' posts used for such purposes are to be reduced.
It is recommended that exchanges, which are to be increased under the reform, be implemented in a structured way. Detachment to the Commission should be possible not only for national officials, but also - in exceptional cases and in compliance with strict rules - for representatives from the private sector and non-profit organisations.
New rules applicable to National Experts on secondment to the Commission have already entered into force:
- the maximum period of detachment has been increased from three to four years;
- experts detached to the Commission are to comply with a code of conduct based on the rights and obligations of officials;
- reciprocal exchanges, under which national and Commission officials swap jobs for a certain period, are to be stepped up.
Detached national officials are, as before, to be paid by their
own employer. To compensate them for the additional costs they
face through having to live temporarily abroad, the Commission is to pay
them a daily expense allowance - based on the distance
from their place of origin - of € 26.25 to € 105. Provided that
they have not been paid a removal allowance, they are to continue to be
entitled to a monthly allowance, again depending on the distance from their
place of origin, of € 97.50 to € 592.50.
Special importance is to be paid to geographical balance and equal opportunities when selecting people to be seconded. Applicants should have at least three years' professional experience at the level of an A or B category post. Detachment of experts from the private sector is to be approved only if the Commission needs their specific knowledge. Such a detachment is to last six months or more but not more than four years. National experts may be seconded a second time, but not within a period of fewer than six years.
National experts are to work on the basis of firmly agreed job descriptions. There should be no possibility of a conflict of interest between the work assigned to them and the work they perform for the national authority to which they belong.
By and large, national experts have the same rights and obligations as EU officials, in other words, they must, in the course of their work, act solely in the interests of the Commission. Under no circumstances are they to enter into financial commitments on behalf of the Commission, nor are they to be allowed to negotiate on relevant matters. The working conditions of Commission officials are in large measure applicable to them.
Precisely with a view to enlargement, particular importance is to be attributed under the reform to further training for detached national officials.
When seconding Commission staff, it should be stressed that the officials concerned will be working not in the administration of their home country but in that of another EU Member State. The number of reciprocal exchanges, under which national and Commission officials swap jobs for a certain period, is to more than double, from 20 at present to 50.
Commission Decision of 27 February 2004 concerning the amendment of decision C(2002) 1559 of 30 April 2002 amended by decision C(2003)406 of 31 January 2003 laying down rules on the secondment of National Experts to the Commission. DA - DE - EL - EN - ES - FI - FR - IT - NL - PT - SV
Under the reform, provisions of the Conditions of Employment of other servants (temporary staff, contract staff, auxiliaries and seconded national experts) have been simplified or, in some cases, repealed.
In order to avoid conflicts of interest, a code of conduct is to be drawn up for all these other categories of staff.
This concerns local staff employed at Commission Representations within the EU and local auxiliary staff working at Delegations outside the EU. Both groups are to be discontinued, since it is planned to have their tasks taken over by contract staff.
Local staff in the delegations inside the EU, in the representations and staff under private law contracts of unlimited duration may benefit from a contract of an unlimited duration without further selection procedure. Safeguards ensure to maintain fair salary conditions.
There are also temporary staff (intérimaires) employed via employment agencies. They are to be used less in future and are to be allowed to work for the Commission for a maximum of six weeks to cover short-term needs. Repeated employment in the same department is no longer to be a possibility.
There is to be little change as regards special advisers. They may be employed regardless of any other professional activities, because of the exceptional skills they possess, so that they can be available to the Commission on a regular or intermittent basis. Use is to be made of these terms of employment in the case in particular of high-ranking Commission representatives in the field of foreign policy in the crisis regions of the world.
Certain rules for special advisers are to be included in the code of conduct, however.
A code of conduct is to be drawn up in respect of these matters. Thus, the duration of contracts with private service providers is to be limited. Private-law service contracts with individuals are to be phased out through externalisation or the employment of contract staff.
The rules governing cases in which people work for the Commission under a succession of different forms of employment have been supplemented. Accordingly a limit of six years in any twelve-year period has been introduced. This does not apply to civil servants or contract staff, but to all other categories. After reaching the six-year limit, further employment is not to be excluded.