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Contract Agents’ and Assistants’ access to internal competitions: Reply by Director-General Ingestad

In early July, following the announcement of an internal Administrator (AD5) competition tailored only to temporary agents, Generation 2004 addressed a note on Contract Agents’ and Assistants’ access to internal competitions [1] to the Director-General of DG HR, Gertrud Ingestad.

At the same time, we also launched a petition in support of contract agents [2].

In our note, we asked DG HR to addresses the legitimate expectations of Contract Agents (CAs) and Assistants (ASTs) regarding internal competitions and to ensure equal treatment of all colleagues as set out in Article 29 1d) of the Staff Regulations (SR).

In fact, many CAs, ASTs, and Secretarial and Clerk Assistants (AST/SC) fulfilled the criteria for the competition but were excluded from this career advancement opportunity. This generated a sizeable loss for the European Commission and a major source of frustration for many colleagues in these staff categories.

In her reply [3], Director-General Ingestad points out that thousands of contract agents participated in the 2016 and 2018 internal competitions, despite the provisions in the 2014 SR limiting the number of CAs recruited through internal competitions to 5% of the total number of appointments of officials made that year in the relevant function group. Moreover, it states that this annual maximum appointment quota for CAs is fully exhausted each year, and that “(t)he eligibility scope of this year’s internal competition was defined in the light of this regulatory framework and of the necessity to ensure the smooth uptake of the existing reserve lists of laureates.

As regards ASTs, the SR provides for the certification exercise to access the AD function group, which is organized every year. Since 2006, more than 1000 ASTs were certified according to DG HR’s reply.

However, Ms. Ingestad acknowledges that as regards AST temporary agents, “no internal competition within the AST function group and parallel to the one organised in the AD function group has been organised yet in 2020”. This issue will be part of the wider reflection on procedures for competitions and selections in the context of the new HR strategy currently under preparation.

Generation 2004 will continue to insist on the need to ensure equal treatment and to fight against discrimination of the ASTs and CAs staff categories. If you have any comments on the reply we received from Ms. Ingestad and/or you want to contribute further to the reflection on CAs’ and ASTs’ access to internal competitions and on the New HR strategy, do not hesitate to get in touch with us [4]!