18th Mar 2018

Paymasters seek cuts to EU officials' pensions

  • Even if the pensions cuts go through, they will save little in the coming years (Photo: European Commission)

The eight countries which make a net contribution to the EU budget want to cut EU officials' pensions.

The group - Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK - put forward its ideas in an internal letter sent to the European Commission on 17 September.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For any EU staff reading the text, the scariest bits come on page three.

The paper - seen by EUobserver - says EU own contributions to the pension fund should go up from 33 percent to as much as 50 percent.

It also advocates an "average wage-based system for the calculation of pensions."

Under current rules, the pension is based on what you are being paid when you retire. But the new system would see people who start on a low grade and work their way up get a pension based on their average income over the years.

The letter paid homage to the economic crisis.

The group-of-eight said it is "very concerned" EU spending on staff and buildings will go up by €15 billion in 2014-2020 compared to 2007-2013 and that annual EU pension costs will double by 2045.

It noted that: "Most MS [member states] are responding to current economic and fiscal circumstances with efficiency measures or other reforms affecting the terms and conditions of their national civil servants. The staff of the European institutions should share the burden."

The increase in EU pension costs comes from the Brussels' bubble own demographic bubble.

Pension costs were negligible for decades because it took time for the first few generations of EU officials who began work in the 1950s and 1960s to age.

But the number of staff hitting retirement is now at a high, while the level of new intakes to help pay for them is falling.

For its part, the commission on Tuesday (16 October) said it will not fight over the next budget until all 27 countries come up with a joint position - a development expected at the November summit.

But its spokespeople noted that existing commission proposals call for a 5 percent staff cull and a freeze on non-pension-related spending in years to come.

Some EU trade unions are planning to go on strike on 8 November if member states opt go further.

Meanwhile, there is comfort in the fact the September letter makes no mention of retroactive effect.

A legal opinion drafted on 25 April by the EU Council's internal legal service - also seen by EUobserver - shows the eight countries know all too well that if they try to back-date the measures, the move would be thrown out by the EU court in Luxembourg.

"The principle of acquired rights is a general principle of Union law ... Where legal provisions have already given rise to rights or benefits, their retroactive withdrawal would be contrary to such general principle of law," it says.

"Thus the factors determining the pension rights of officials who retire before new measures enter into force cannot be modified. The same applies to officials who have not yet retired by that date," it adds.

If the lower pensions only hit staff hired after the reform, it will have next to no impact on the EU budget for a long, long time.


Public sector workers are being forced to pay for the crisis

With the austerity measures the focus has completely shifted from addressing the causes of the crisis to making public service workers pay for a crisis they did not cause, nor contributed to, writes Jean Willem Goudriaan, Deputy General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions.

MEPs back cost-cutting on EU staff

MEPs have backed changes to working conditions for EU officials designed to save over €1 billion a year and to improve ethical standards.

Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case

The European Commission repeated that it followed the rules when its former head joined Goldman Sachs - and suggested it will not follow the EU Ombudsman's demand to refer the case back to the ethics committee.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere