Friday

5th Mar 2021

EU officials strike over pension reforms

Thousands of EU civil servants will be striking on Tuesday, 20 May, against new staffing rules that will change the present pension system.

When meeting in Brussels on Monday, EU foreign affairs ministers agreed with Commissioner Neil Kinnock that the staff retiring age should be raised from 60 to 63.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The new rules will also decrease monthly salary contributions to the pension fund from 2 to 1.9 per cent each year, making it harder for officials of the European Union to reach the maximum level of pension.

The aim of the reforms is to cut spending on the pension fund which is becoming a burden for EU member states that are dealing with an ageing population and a growing tendency of staff to retire at an earlier age.

Unions unhappy

Unions representing the EU officials are not happy with the outcome. "The Commission negotiations were held behind our back and the Council had a go with the new European civil servants," Alan Hick, President of Union Syndicale told EUobserver.

"They are giving a terrible message to the newcomers, and it is a reform which we will not endorse".

For those already working in the EU institutions, the new rules will apply through a transitional arrangement where the number of years that that person has already worked in the EU institution will be taken into account.

These new rules, initially proposed by the Commission in 1999, required an agreement by the EU ministers. But this was held back by eight EU countries that had been pushing for more restrictive rules.

Some of these countries, namely Austria and France, are in troubled waters at home over their attempts at reforming their present pension systems.

Kinnock's appeal

The strike, organised by the two largest EU unions, the Union Syndicale and FFPE (Fédération de la Fonction Publique Européenne), follows another huge strike on 11 April, where more than 75% of the EU civil servants downed tools.

Yet Commissioner Neil Kinnock, in charge of administrative reform, regrets the move by the unions.

"I regret it. I don't think it assists in the process of seeing a better achievable outcome. I do hope that the members of the public service make mature reflections whether they decide to go to work or not," he said, hinting that the image of the European institutions was at risk.

This proposal will now go to the European Parliament for its opinion. A final agreement is expected during the Italian Presidency in the last half of this year.

EU civil servants pension reform gets go-ahead

EU foreign affairs ministers have approved a controversial pension reform for EU civil servants, which is set to increase their pension age and make the new entrants work more years to receive the maximum level of pension.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

A letter sent to the European Economic and Social Committee by a group of cross-party MEPs fighting for LGBTi rights expresses fears that a recently-appointed Polish member may try to undermine those rights.

EU condemns Slovenian PM's harassment of journalist

Slovenia's populist prime minister Janez Janša attempted to discredit a Brussels reporter after she published a critical article about the state of media freedoms in the country. The European Commission condemned the PM's language - but refrained from naming him.

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  3. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!

Latest News

  1. China and Russia abusing corona for geopolitics, Lithuania says
  2. Worries on Europe's infection surge, after six-week drop
  3. EU wants large firms to report on gender pay-gap or face fines
  4. EU Commission cannot hold Frontex to account
  5. Orbán leaves EPP group - the beginning of a long endgame
  6. 'Corporate due diligence'? - a reality check before EP votes
  7. Austrian ex-minister joins list of EU's pro-Kremlin lobbyists
  8. Internal Frontex probe to deliver final report this week

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us