Meeting staff representatives of the European Agencies


The AASC (Assembly of Agency Staff Committee) held its 27th Meeting of the specialized European Agencies on 26 and 27 May on the premises of the OHIM (Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market) in Alicante, Spain. Two representatives of the CERN Staff Association, in charge of External Relations, attended as observers. This participation is a useful complement to regular contacts we have with FICSA (Federation of International Civil Servants' Associations), which groups staff associations of the UN Agencies, and the annual CSAIO conferences (Conference of Staff Associations of International Organizations), where each Autumn representatives of international organizations based in Europe meet to discuss themes of common interest to better promote and defend the rights of the international civil servants. All these meetings allow us to remain informed on items that are directly or indirectly related to employment and social conditions of our colleagues in other international and European organizations.

The AASC includes representatives of 35 specialized Agencies of the European Union. Meetings such as the one in Alicante provide an opportunity to discuss the difficulties that staffs of these Agencies encounter in different areas, such as, health insurance, recognition of the activities of the staff representatives in each Agency, attacks by Members States on social and employment conditions, or the lack of coherence between the different Agencies. These meetings are also an ideal forum for the exchange of information, and an opportunity to define common positions and coordinate joint actions. The need to encourage the activities of staff representation in order to create an effective counterweight to the European administration was stressed.

In Alicante, on the morning of the first day, the discussions concerned the recent decisions of the European Commission in Brussels on the reform of the Statute of the European public service and its impact on the Agencies. Indeed, its implementation is complicated, if not impossible, and often made in analogy with the one in the Commission, for example, for social conditions or pensions. During the afternoon session a consultant in communication spoke on the theme "facilitating communication in large groups."

Based on this presentation, the next day the discussions took place in several small parallel workshops, each on a particular theme, such as: recruitment, contract renewals, flexitime, and the importance of staff representation and its means of action within the Agencies. Many interesting ideas came out of these workshops, whose main purpose was to stimulate the active participation of people present at gatherings with a large number of participants, such as in Alicante where we were fifty staff representatives.

An essential point to take away from this meeting is that the implementation of the recent reform of the Statute of the European civil service is rather unfavourable for the staff, especially for new recruits. This fact gives rise to reactions from staff representatives in each Agency. To improve the social dialogue the AASC Secretariat was given the task to prepare a resolution calling on the Commission and the Administrations of the Agencies to involve staff representatives from an early stage in the drafting of proposals for changes to employment conditions. This resolution was sent to E.U. leaders in early July. A follow-up will take place at the next AASC Meeting in the Autumn.

by Staff Association