Flash report on the Local Agents’ Provident Fund

The pension benefits system for local staff in Delegations (Provident Fund for Local Agents (‘PFLA‘)) has lost over 5% of its value. This means that the amount of money local agents (LA) receive at the end of their career (through employer and employee contributions) is falling. We have raised the poor performance of the Provident Fund at the highest level (e.g. Deputy Director level, Director level, Head of Unit, Head of Division) with the European External Action Service (EEAS), DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), DG International Partnerships (INTPA), DG Human Resources and Security (HR) and DG Budget (BUDG) during the Outside the Union staff committee (CLP-HU) plenary meeting (16-20.11.2023) in Brussels.  As of January 2023, there were 1578 local staff members and 532 members of staff under national law at the Commission. Our LA colleagues are often facing the same difficulties as EEAS staff in general and then additional obstacles on top which are specific to LAs. 

The EEAS and the Commission administration have outlined the following points:   

For local agents who are in service, the Provident Fund losses reported for the period 2022-2023 are virtual, with no real implications. It is a virtual loss because it is calculated with an algorithm which refers to market-variable returns. The Provident Fund invests primarily in safe investments such as bonds with EU Member States or EU financial institutions. Bonds are sold at maturity and the capital is not affected, and there is no real loss. According to the EEAS financial forecast, a positive return of the Provident Fund is expected in 2023 and the virtual loss will be offset accordingly.  

For local staff who left the service in the period 2022-2023, the loss was real, because their contribution was calculated based on the market-variable returns at the time the contract was terminated. The EEAS is open to discussing possible ways to compensate colleagues for this loss.    

The EEAS will send a survey to all local agents to inquire what they want to do with their contribution to the Provident Fund.   

The Provident Fund decision expires in 2025. Generation 2004 and other trade unions and staff associations (OSPs) have requested to open a social dialogue on this topic as soon as possible. 

As always, we would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us or leave a comment below. 

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