CERN, flagship of European scientific collaboration

The creation of CERN in 1954 had its roots in a resurgent postwar Europe and the willingness to share resources to create a joint fundamental physics laboratory integrating all countries of the Old Continent. This humanistic vision has been driven by several Nobel Prize laureates. The Organization then embodied the very definition of "science for peace". Basic science is not subject in principle to the concept of utility. Nevertheless, very many of the benefits are the direct or indirect spinoffs of this research, even if they were not the primary objective of the researcher.

Fundamental research in science attracts the innovators of tomorrow

By its policy of knowledge transfer, CERN has always contributed to the training of hundreds of students, postgraduates and teachers of the scientific community. Through its own developments and through its policy of technology transfer, CERN has provided the economic and industrial world with some of its more important current advanced technologies. One example is the development of techniques for the acceleration and detection of particles which are now routinely applied in medicine (radiobiology, radionuclide production, PET and PET / MRI scanners, hadro-therapy). The World Wide Web has revolutionized the way we communicate and do business around the world. At the forefront of information technology, computing grids are already used in the areas of Earth observation, weather forecasting, oil exploration and pharmaceutical research.

Give CERN the means to fulfill its ambitions

Fundamental research plays a vital role in our competitive world as it establishes a sustainable foundation for innovation, the main driving force of development and prosperity. In particular, advances in technology originating from CERN allow European industry to create high-value jobs and generate growth.

And yet, how can CERN continue to fulfill its multiple missions if our Member States do not provide it with the necessary means? Fundamental research cannot progress with ever decreasing resources. It needs financial stability in line with its projects which often span several decades.

Following the European Strategy for Particle Physics defined by the Council in 2013, the first priority of the Organization for the coming years is the optimal exploitation of the LHC, where the investments to launch the HL-LHC project are needed now. A reduction in the budget, as advocated by some delegates, would be disastrous for the long-term future of the Organization.

Compliance with commitments and rules

In a strictly short-term financial approach some delegations attacked, more or less explicitly, the level of our wages and, more often, that of our pensions. They did this, in particular, by challenging the sixty million francs CERN, as the employer, must pay annually as its contribution to the 2010 balanced package of measures to ensure full funding of the Pension Fund on the 30-year horizon. In addition, the Council appointed three legal experts to study how far the concept of acquired rights protects the level of pensions of (current and future) beneficiaries of the CERN Pension Fund. Without doubt the intention is to find out by how much they can cut these benefits.

This is unacceptable. We demand respect for commitments and procedures, and, even more so, respect for CERN staff, the irreplaceable resource that day after day ensures the success of the Organization and that must not be destabilized with inappropriate initiatives.

We must act now

All together, we must act decisively before adverse decisions are taken. The CERN Staff Council calls upon the entire CERN community to participate in a gathering on June 18, to publicly show its strong disapproval of these budget policies aimed at austerity and short-term savings, and which endanger the future of our Organization.


by Staff Association