Rarely has a Finance Committee meeting taken place in such a tense atmosphere. It must be said that the news from our home countries is more than alarming. Cuts, restrictions, and reforms were on everyone’s lips and on everyone’s mind. And all of this is rubbing off on our Organization to such an extent that at Finance Committee the delegations “forgot” to thank the staff for the excellent results with the LHC after 10 years of effort. No, too many of them had come not to say thank you, but to make cuts, cuts, and more cuts. When times were good , they thought things through, from ad hoc groups to supplementary studies, but without deciding anything. Experts at standing still.

Today, when a general consolidation of our infrastructures is more than necessary, when our salaries have been stagnating for too long, when our Pension Fund and Health Insurance scheme are in great difficulty, they would like to act, but, unfortunately, times have changed and they have no more money. In fact the whole CERN budget is under pressure and this is very serious. How can we carry out our mission if our Member States take away the minimal means we have to do it ? And why did they invest 6 thousand million in the LHC ? Scientific research cannot progress with budget restrictions. This is what the management has tried to make our decision makers understand, but for the time being most of them do not want to hear this reasoning. What can we do now ? Accept this situation, resign ourselves to it, kow-tow ? No, this would be too easy.

Our Organization and its staff are worth much more and we will make this heard, even if we have to shout it out. Excellence on all levels is required to carry out our tasks. And this has a price. This is the law of the employment market, which is decided outside the Council chamber, whether the Member States like it or not. We will give you more details in the next ECHO, but in the meantime, be prepared for a probable mobilization. There is no doubt about it, we are in for a hot summer.