The European Civil Service is a generic term applied to all staff serving the institutions and agencies of the European Union (EU). Although recruitment is sometimes done jointly, each institution is responsible for its own internal structures and hierarchies.
The rules, principles, standards and working conditions of the European civil service are set out in the Staff Regulations.
The European Commission's civil service is headed by a Secretary General, currently Martin Selmayr who succeeded Alexander Italianer in March 2018. According to figures published by the Commission, 24,428 persons were employed by the Commission as officials and temporary agents in their 2016 budget. In addition to these, 9066 "external staff" were employed; these are largely people employed on time-limited contracts (called "contractual agents" in the jargon), staff seconded from national administrations (called "Detached National Experts"), or trainees (called "stagiaires"). The single largest DG is the Directorate-General for Translation, with 2261 staff.
European civil servants are sometimes referred to in the anglophone press as "Eurocrats" (a term coined by Richard Mayne, a journalist and personal assistant to the first Commission president, Walter Hallstein). High-ranking officials are sometimes referred to as "European Mandarins"..
These terms are sometimes erroneously used by the anglophone press, usually as a derogatory slur, to describe Members of the European Parliament, or European Commissioners. MEPs are directly elected representatives, whilst the European Commissioners, despite often being confused as civil servants, are politicians holding public office and accountable to the European Parliament. Much like government ministers at the national level, they instruct the policy direction of the civil service.
The qualifications needed to enter the European civil service depend on whether the job is a specialist one and the grade. One of the entry qualifications for the European civil service is that the candidate speak at least two of the official European languages, one of which must be English, French or German. Candidates whose mother tongue is English, French or German must pass the competition for entry in one of the other two official languages.
Prior to their first promotion, officials must demonstrate competence in a third EU official language.
A candidate also needs to have a first degree in any discipline. The services have traditionally hired candidates with degrees in Law, Economics, or Audit; competition is tougher for graduates of all other disciplines, although the procedure for the open competitions, known as "Concours", is now under review.
Staff are divided into a set of grades: from AD 5, the most junior administrator grade, to AD 16, which is a director-general (AD = administrator). Alongside the AD category is AST (assistant). It is now possible for civil servants to be promoted from AST to AD grade, not previously possible (see below); however in practice the grades remain entrenched. While promotion is in theory according to merit, many management posts are now taken by officials 'parachuted in' from member states. Moreover, staff reforms introduced in 2004 have severely reduced the possibilities for career progression and have created divisions within the service, with pre-2004 entrants enjoying greater pay and privileges. According to the Commission's own internal statistics, even though new officials possess an average of eight years work experience, it would take an average of over 40 years to climb from AD 5 to AD 16.
Prior to this new system, introduced in the 2000s (decade), civil servants were traditionally divided into four categories. "A" was policy making (what is now AD), "B' was implementing, "C" was secretarial and "D" was drivers and messengers (B, C and D are now all part of the AST category). There were various grades in each category. The major ranks used to be in the form of A8 (new appointment without prior work experience) to A1 (director-general).
They receive a minimum of 24 days of leave a year (maximum of 30), .
The lowest grades receive between €1.618,83 gross (FG 1 step 1) each month, while the highest grades (AD 15–16 – i.e. Directors General at the end of their career) receives between €14,822.86 and €16,094.79 a month. This salary is taxed by the EU, rather than at the national level. Taxation varies between 8% and 45% depending on individual circumstances. This is paid into the Community budget.
Earnings are augmented by allowances, such as allowances for those living outside their own country, those who are the principal earner in their household, those with children in full-time education, and those who are moving home in order to take up a position or leaving the service. Earnings are also lowered by various additional taxes (i.e. "Special Levy" alias 'crisis levy' introduced in 1973 and increasing regularly every year) and indexes (for EU staff working out-side Brussels).
For a contribution of 2% basic salary, employees are provided with health insurance which covers a maximum of 85% of expenses (100% for serious injury). Employees have the right to a parental leave of six months per person and child during which they obtain an allowance and have (as of January 2014) the possibility of an extension by further 6 months with a smaller allowance.
In January 2010, The European Commission took the EU member states to court over the Member States' refusal to honour a long-standing formula under which wages for the staff of the European institutions are indexed to the salaries of national civil servants. The formula led to a salary adjustment of 3.7% but the Council, representing the member states, was only willing to grant a pay rise of 1.85%. In November 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that there was no legal basis for the Council to set the pay rise to 1.85%. It has been noted that the ECJ judges who would decide in this case would be themselves to benefit from any salary increase agreed. To be noted that the index is published and applied one year and half later, and this delay cause the quarrels like in the 2010 (full crisis) where should be applied the adaptation related to the increases of wages of the national civil servants from 2007–8; while in 2011 the index was already negative (as the national wages has been lowered).
Employees contribute about 11.3% of their basic salary to a pension scheme. This scheme does not constitute a separate, ring-fenced pension fund; rather, pension payments are made from the general administrative budget of the Commission.
Pensions are paid as a percentage of the final basic salary, with a ceiling of 70%, at an accrual rate of 1.8% per year of service (with a higher accrual rate of 1.9% per year of service for those who entered service between 1 May 2004 and 31 December 2013, and 2% per year of service for those who entered service before 1 May 2004). The pensionable age is 66 years for staff entering service as of 1 January 2014, is between 63 and 65 years for those who entered service before 1 January 2014 but not earlier than 1 May 2004, and is between 60 and 65 years for those who entered service before 1 May 2004. Early retirement is possible as of 58 years but a pension reduction coefficient of 3.5% is applied for each year before the pensionable age, except that for staff in place on 1 January 2014 the pension reduction coefficient is 1.75 for years not worked above the age of 60.
Before 1 January 2014, the pensionable age had been 63 years for those who entered service on 1 May 2004 or later, and between 60 and 63 years for those who entered service before 1 May 2004. Early retirement was possible as of 55 years, albeit with a reduction of the pension due to the pension reduction coefficient of 3.5% per year before the pensionable age, except that a small percentage of officials could retire early without that pension reduction if it was in the interest of the service. To mitigate the changes implemented as of 2014, transitional pension rules were put in place for staff in place on 1 January 2014, which included setting the pensionable age for staff between 55 and 60 years of age on 1 January 2014 to lie between 60 and 61 years. Transition measures applied also to early retirement: Staff already aged 54 years or older on 1 January 2014 could still retire, with application of the pension reduction coefficient, in 2014 or 2015 at the age of 56 years or in 2016 at the age of 57 years.
Before 1 May 2004, the pensionable age had been 60 years, and when this age was raised in 2004, this was accompanied by transition measures so that it remained unchangedly at 60 for officials aged 50 or more as well as for officials who had already completed 20 years of service or more on 1 May 2004, and it varied from 60 years and 2 months to 62 years and 8 months for officials aged 30 to 49 on 1 May 2004.
Recruitment is on the basis of competitions organised centrally by EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office) on the basis of qualifications and of the need for staff.
During the 1980s, the Commission was primarily dominated by French, German and Italian cultural influences, including a strictly hierarchical organisation. Commissioners and Directors-General were referred to by their title (in French) with greater prestige for those of higher ranks. As one former servant, Derk Jan Eppink has put it, even after new staff had passed the tough entrance exams: "Those at the top counted for everything. Those at the bottom counted for nothing." One example of this was the chef de cabinet of President Jacques Delors, Pascal Lamy, who was particularly notable for his immense influence over other civil servants. He became known as the Beast of the Berlaymont, the Gendarme and the Exocet due to his habit of ordering civil servants, even Directors-General (head of departments) "precisely what to do – or else." He was seen as ruling Delors's office with a "rod of iron", with no-one able to bypass or manipulate him and those who tried being "banished to one of the less pleasant European postings".
However, since the enlargement of the EU, and therefore the arrival of staff from the many newer Member States, there has been a change in the culture of the civil service. New civil servants from northern and eastern states brought in new influences while the Commission's focus has shifted more to "participation" and "consultation". A more egalitarian culture took over, with Commissioners no longer having a "status equivalent to a sun God" and, with this new populism, the first women were appointed to the Commission in the 1990s and the service gained its first female secretary general in 2006 (Catherine Day). In stark contrast to the 1980s, it is not uncommon to see men without ties and children playing football in the corridors.
It has been alleged that, for want of a common administrative culture, European Civil Servants are held together by a "common mission" which gives DGs a particularly enthusiastic attitude to the production of draft legislation regardless of the intentions of the Commissioner. They are also notably bound by their common procedures, in the absence of a common administrative culture, which are best known by the Secretariat-General, thus considered a prestigious office, just below the President's cabinet.
There has been some criticism that the highly fragmented DG structure wastes a considerable amount of time in turf wars as the different departments and Commissioners compete with each other, as is the case in national administrations. Furthermore, the DGs can exercise considerable control over a Commissioner unless the Commissioner learns to assert control over his/her staff. The DGs work closely with the Commissioner's cabinet. While the DG has responsibility for preparation of work and documents, the cabinet has responsibility for giving the Commissioner political guidance. However, in practice both seek a share of each other's work. It has been alleged that some DGs try to influence decision making by providing Commissioners with briefing documents as late and large as possible, ensuring that the Commissioner has no time to do anything but accept the version of facts presented by the DG. In doing this the DG is competing with the cabinet, which acts as a "bodyguard" for the Commissioner.
The Commission is divided into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs or the services), each headed by a director-general, and various other services. Each covers a specific policy area or service such as External Relations or Translation and is under the responsibility of a European Commissioner. DGs prepare proposals for their Commissioners which can then be put forward for voting in the college of Commissioners.
Whilst the Commission's DGs cover similar policy areas to the ministries in national governments, European Civil Servants have not necessarily been trained, or worked, in a national civil service before employment in the EU. On entry, they do not therefore share a common administrative culture.
The Directorates-General are divided into four groups: Policy DGs, External relations DGs, General Service DGs and Internal Service DGs. Internally, the DGs are referred to by their abbreviations; provided below.
|Agriculture and Rural Development||AGRI||European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Budget||BUDG||European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget|
|Climate Action||CLIMA||European Commissioner for Climate Action|
|Communications Networks, Content and Technology||CNCT||European Commissioner for Digital Agenda|
|Communication||COMM||European Commissioner for Communication|
|Competition||COMP||European Commissioner for Competition|
|Economic and Financial Affairs||ECFIN||European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs|
|Education and Culture||EAC||European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth|
|Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion||EMPL||European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion|
|Energy||ENER||European Commissioner for Energy|
|Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations||NEAR||European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy|
|Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs||GROW||European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship|
|Environment||ENV||European Commissioner for the Environment|
|Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development||DEVCO||European Commissioner for Development|
|Eurostat||ESTAT||European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud|
|Service for Foreign Policy Instruments||FPI||High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy|
|Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union||FISMA||European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union|
|Health and Food Safety||SANTE||European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety|
|Migration and Home Affairs||HOME||European Commissioner for Home Affairs|
|European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations||ECHO||European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response|
|Human Resources and Security||HR||European Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration|
|Internal Market and Services||MARKT||European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services|
|Joint Research Centre||JRC||European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science|
|Justice and Consumers||JUST||European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship|
|Maritime Affairs and Fisheries||MARE||European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries|
|Mobility and Transport||MOVE||European Commissioner for Transport|
|Regional and Urban Policy||REGIO||European Commissioner for Regional Policy|
|Research and Innovation||RTD||European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science|
|Taxation and Customs Union||TAXUD||European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud|
|Trade||TRADE||European Commissioner for Trade|
|Bureau of European Policy Advisers has been replaced by European Political Strategy Centre.||BEPA|
|Library and e-Resources Centre|
|European Anti-Fraud Office||OLAF|
|European Commission Data Protection Officer|
|Infrastructures and Logistics – Brussels||OIB|
|Infrastructures and Logistics – Luxembourg||OIL|
|Internal Audit Service||IAS|
|Office For Administration And Payment Of Individual Entitlements||PMO|
Center for Adaptation of Civil Service to the Standards of EU – public institution established by the Decree of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to facilitate administrative reform in Ukraine and to enhance the adaptation of the civil service to the standards of the European Union.Aneurin Hughes
Aneurin Rhys "Nye" Hughes (born 1937) is a retired British diplomat known for his long involvement with the European Commission. He was the EU Ambassador to Norway and Iceland from 1987 to 1995 and to Australia and New Zealand from 1995 to 2002.
Hughes was born in Swansea, Wales, and is fluent in both English and Welsh. He attended Swansea Grammar School, and also spent a year abroad in the U.S. at Oregon City High School, on an AFS exchange. Hughes went on to the University College Wales, Aberystwyth, graduating in 1961 with a double degree in Celtic studies and philosophy. He was president of the Aberystwyth University Students' Union. He later began a PhD at the University of London on the subject of higher education in South America, which he did not complete. From 1962 to 1964, Hughes was president of the National Union of Students. He succeeded another Welshman, Gwyn Morgan. Hughes joined the Foreign Office in 1966. He was first secretary to the British High Commissioner to Singapore from 1968 to 1970, and then first secretary to the Ambassador to Italy from 1972 to 1973.In 1973, Hughes joined the European Civil Service. He was head of the Division for Internal Coordination until 1976, and then served as an advisor to the Director-General for Information from 1977 to 1980. From 1981 to 1985, Hughes was chief of staff to Ivor Richard, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. He was then EU Ambassador to Norway and Iceland from 1987 to 1995, and EU Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand from 1995 to 2002. Hughes remained in Australia after retiring. To coincide with the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory appointed him as a liaison officer for visiting European businesspeople. In 2005, Hughes published a biography of Billy Hughes (no relation), the seventh Prime Minister of Australia and a fellow Welshman. John Button, writing for Eureka Street, called it "a thought-provoking account of an extraordinary figure about whom we now know a great deal more than before".Cabinet (European Commission)
In the European Commission, a cabinet (the French pronunciation, cab-ee-nay, is used) is the personal office of a European Commissioner. The role of a cabinet is to give political guidance to its Commissioner. Members of a cabinet are equivalent, within UK Government nomenclature, to a special adviser or "SPAD". Technical policy preparation is handled by the European Civil Service. The term is not to be confused with the European Commission's top decision making-body known in EU-lexicon, as the "College of Commissioners" (referred to in most political systems as a cabinet).Civil service
The civil service is independent of government also composed mainly of career bureaucrats hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership. A civil servant or public servant is a person employed in the public sector on behalf of a government department or agency. A civil servant or public servant's first priority is to represent the interests of citizens. The extent of civil servants of a state as part of the "civil service" varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for instance, only Crown (national government) employees are referred to as civil servants whereas county or city employees are not.
Many consider the study of service to be a part of the field of public administration. Workers in "non-departmental public bodies" (sometimes called "Quangos") may also be classed as civil servants for the purpose of statistics and possibly for their terms and conditions. Collectively a state's civil servants form its civil service or public service.
An international civil servant or international staff member is a civilian employee who is employed by an intergovernmental organization. These international civil servants do not resort under any national legislation (from which they have immunity of jurisdiction) but are governed by internal staff regulations. All disputes related to international civil service are brought before special tribunals created by these international organizations such as, for instance, the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO.
Specific referral can be made to the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) of the United Nations, an independent expert body established by the United Nations General Assembly. Its mandate is to regulate and coordinate the conditions of service of staff in the United Nations common system, while promoting and maintaining high standards in the international civil service.Directorate-General
Within the European Union, a directorate-general is a branch of an administration dedicated to a specific field of expertise.
The European Commission: Commission Directorates-General are each headed by a director-general, who reports to the European Commissioner in charge of (i.e. politically responsible for) the corresponding policy area;
The European Patent Office: EPO Directorates-General;
The Secretariat of the European Parliament: Parliament Directorates-General.
The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union: Council Directorates-general.Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
The Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The role of the body is to ensure the EU's security, to build a common EU migration and asylum policy, and to promote dialogue and cooperation with non-EU countries. Thereby, it contributes to the Area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ).Dominique Ristori
Dominique Ristori is a French bureaucrat with the European Civil Service of the European Commission. Since January 2014 Ristori is director-general of the Directorate-General for Energy within the European Commission.Euromyth
The term euromyth is used to refer to exaggerated or invented stories about the European Union and the activities of its institutions, such as purportedly nonsensical EU legislation.Conversely, the same term has been applied by Eurosceptics to purportedly misleading or exaggerated claims by the European Commission, and some assert that the term (in the former sense) is falsely applied to true stories.Sometimes debate as to whether a particular claim is true or not continues long after the original story appeared. On occasions, Euromyths may arise when the actions of a different European organisation, such as the Council of Europe, are erroneously attributed to the EU.In 2000, the British government announced a policy of publicly rebutting such myths, accusing journalists of failing in their mission to inform.European Civil Service Training Network
The European Civil Service Training Network (or ENTO) is a network which groups together the local and regional training establishments and programmes for nearly all 47 Council of Europe member states.European Commissioner
A European Commissioner is a member of the 28-member European Commission. Each member within the Commission holds a specific portfolio, and the Commission is led by the President of the European Commission. In simple terms they are the equivalent of national ministers.European Court of Auditors
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) (French: Cour des comptes européenne) is the fifth institution of the European Union (EU). It was established in 1975 in Luxembourg.European Ombudsman
The European Ombudsman (or sometimes Euro-Ombudsman) is an ombudsman for the European Union, based in the Salvador de Madariaga Building in Strasbourg.General Court (European Union)
The General Court (EGC) is a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It hears actions taken against the institutions of the European Union by individuals and member states, although certain matters are reserved for the European Court of Justice. Decisions of the General Court can be appealed to the Court of Justice, but only on a point of law. Prior to the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, it was known as the Court of First Instance.Institutions of the European Union
The institutions of the European Union are the seven principal decision making bodies of the European Union (EU). They are, as listed in Article 13 of the Treaty on European Union:
the European Parliament,
the European Council,
the Council of the European Union,
the European Commission,
the Court of Justice of the European Union,
the European Central Bank and
the Court of Auditors.Institutions are distinct from agencies of the European Union.Joly Dixon
Henry Joly Dixon is a retired member of the European Civil Service, who served from 1993 to 2003 as Director of International Affairs in the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission. Before that he served in the cabinet of President Jacques Delors, where he was described as "his right-hand man on EMU".In 1999 he was appointed as Deputy Special Representatives for the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), in charge of reconstruction.After leaving the European Commission in 2003 he has held a range of posts, most notably as a Commissioner of the Statistics Commission and as Chair of Jersey’s Fiscal Policy Panel.Meritocracy
Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos 'strength, power') is a political philosophy that holds that certain things, such as economic goods or power, should be vested in individuals on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement, rather than factors such as sexuality, race, gender, age, or wealth. Advancement in such a system is based on performance, as measured through examination or demonstrated achievement. Although the concept of meritocracy has existed for centuries, the term itself was first created in 1958 by the sociologist Michael Young. The Oxford English Dictionary shows the first use in 1956 and gives this citation. "1956 A. Fox in Socialist Comm. May 13/1 The ‘meritocracy’; the society in which the gifted, the smart, the energetic, the ambitious and the ruthless are carefully sifted out and helped towards their destined positions of dominance." Young's entry is listed as "1958 M. Young Rise of Meritocracy iv. 71 Before the meritocracy was fully established, age-stratification as a substitute for the hereditary order may have been necessary for the sake of social stability."Office for administration and payment of individual entitlements
The Office for administration and payment of individual entitlements, also known as the Paymaster's Office or PMO is a central office of the European Commission.
The PMO's mission is to manage the financial rights of permanent, temporary and contractual staff working at the Commission, to calculate and to pay their salaries and other financial entitlements. The PMO provides these services to other EU institutions and agencies as well. The PMO is also responsible for managing the health insurance fund of the Institutions, together with processing and paying the claims of reimbursement from staff members. The PMO also manages the pension fund and pays the pensions of retired staff members.
The PMO's head office, horizontal services and four operational units are located in Brussels, while two other units are located in Luxembourg and in Ispra, where they provide services to local EU staff.Rudy Aernoudt
Rudy Aernoudt is a Belgian professor, writer, politician, economist and philosopher, born 5 November 1960 in Torhout. Between 2013 and 2015 he was Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Henri Malosse. He is professor 'corporate finance' at the Universities of Ghent and Nancy. He was among the first to openly oppose separatist tensions in Belgium and fought against corruption in both the north and the south of the country. He is also the only person to serve as Head of Cabinet at the European, Belgian, Walloon and Flemish levels. He has received several awards, including one for political courage and the prestigious award for democracy Aron-Condorcet.Secretary-General of the European Commission
The Secretary-General of the European Commission is the senior civil servant of the European Commission. The Secretary-General, who is responsible to the President of the European Commission, is in charge of the various Directorates-General, headed by Directors-General.
His/her personal staff form the Secretariat-General of the European Commission.Stagiaire
Stagiaire may refer to:
Stage (cooking) or stagiaire, a cook who works briefly, for free, in another chef's kitchen
Stagiaire (cycling), an amateur cyclist temporarily riding for a professional team
A particular type of trainee, see European Civil Service#Staff