Newsletter editorial – 26-3-2021

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 26 March 2021. We invite you to take a couple of minutes to congratulate yourself on all of the things you’ve made work in this past year of 100% teleworking, yes, it’s been a whole year.

In this issue we are first and foremost covering equal and transparent application of the rules and appropriate communication with the affected staff, whether that’s related to the rules that apply in DG SCIC, the (limited) offer to do a Luxembourg role from any site (but not a Brussels role from Luxembourg, we hear you, Chafea), the and the decisions expected in the coming days on whether our UK-only non-permanent colleagues will continue to be employed and under what conditions.

We offer information on free coaching at the Commission, on the possibility to train for the CBT part of EPSO competitions and, as ever, the latest on Covid developments and new teleworking guidelines.

That’s all for now, we hope you will enjoy the reading and, as usual, we invite you to let us know what you think or to get in touch if we can help you in any way.

Newsletter editorial – 4-3-2021

Welcome to the second newsletter of 2021. We hope this finds you as well as can be expected as we mark one year of enforced teleworking for the vast majority of us.

In this edition we answer some of the questions you’ve asked on certification, promotion decisions and teleworking from abroad before Easter (note that the flexibility days are available in sysper). We also give you the latest updates on the COVID vaccination campaigns and measures together with home-working-reimbursement updates: we query the suspension of annual medicals at the medical service and the reimbursement of related tests at only 80/85%.

Generation 2004 looks out for your inclusion and well-being in our articles on the right to disconnect and on the extension of the hot-desking policy to the new buildings in Brussels.

Take care and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 3-2-2021

Welcome to the first Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2021. And to week 47 of telework for most of us.

Since our last instalment we’ve given over 200 colleagues one-to-one assistance with their self-assessment for the annual career development review (CDR) and provided presentations on the CDR, promotions and AST careers/certification: we’ve made the recordings and PowerPoints available on our website.

We look now at the certification process and why it’s becoming more and more difficult to make the leap from AST to AD. We also update you on the outcome of our special-leave-for-parents-of-young-children petition. We provide details of the latest information exchange with DG Trade on their shift to open plan and now our work with the Committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPT) shows in its agreement that staff be consulted before any reorganisation of office space. We provide the latest news from the Central Staff Committee and share the JSIS updates on reimbursement for psychological support and COVID-19 vaccination.

Generation 2004 is hiring a part-time secretary (50%) for its headquarters in Brussels (depending on future availability this might become 100%). If you are a Contract Agent FGII you can join the team.

One last-minute mention: the proposed CHAFEA accompanying committee will happen and there is now a January 2021 edition of CHAFEA’s frequently asked questions (49 pages long!).

Take care and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 18-12-2020

Welcome to the last Generation 2004 Newsletter of 2020. And to the end of week 40 of telework for most of us.

Since our last instalment the details of the partial reimbursement of an office chair and screen have become clearer, but there appears to be a second scheme planned, how does this fit with what’s already being done: is it backwards compatible?

The Junior Professionals Programme has been extended to include contract agents (CAs), but our look at the eligibility criteria suggests that it’s less inclusive than it seems.

No general return to the office is planned for the foreseeable future, but when it does happen (and it will!) we need to be sure that we don’t return to office space which has been reconfigured in our absence and without our input.

We also provide information on the (even further!) extended deadline for local agents (LAs) to agree new working conditions and point out a couple of pitfalls.

We take a look at the responses you provided to our survey on teleworking from abroad and list some tasks it’s worthwhile getting done this side of the Christmas and New Year break.

So, that’s it for 2020, which, despite not knowing what 2021 will provide, we are only too eager to see it behind us! Take care and enjoy reading!

Newsletter editorial – 19-11-2020

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 19 November 2020. And to week 36 of telework for most of us.  

A lot has happened  since our last instalment: the promotions and reclassification lists were published on Thursday 12 November, congratulations to those with happy news and for those who are less than happy, check out  for the options still open to you (you have until 11 February to act). On the topic of promotions, we address the selective amnesia on display from our peers on our continued abstention from the final vote of the joint promotions committee to endorse the flawed promotions system. 

We also show how you can apply the recently-published Eurostat yearly salary update to your salary and have a rough idea of how much is due to you. Also on the topic of money, the Commission has announced that it will contribute to the costs of purchasing a screen and/or office chair: check out  on how the just-published reimbursement process 

The modernisation of HR is still in our sights, this time from the point of view of non-permanent staff  who provide examples of where to start making the institutions a better place to work for all of us. Our Petition in support of Contract Agents is open until Friday 27 November. Walso provide information on the extended deadline for local agents to agree new conditions: the implications of this and what has to happen next. DG HR announced that we can telework pre-Christmas for a week from abroad[1], and we’d still like your opinion on this being made more permanent. Our survey on teleworking from outside the place of employment is open until Friday  27 November: participate! let us hear what works for you! 

Finally, we have a look at a recent CJEU Brexit/second nationality case, debunk an office urban legend in the process, while showing that the kind words of June 2016 were just that, kind words. 

[1] This was increased to 2 weeks on 20.11.2020: p.7, Point 5.1b: ‘Staff may be authorised by their line manager to telework from abroad as of 10 December and until the start of the end-of-year period of the Commission (24 December)’.

Newsletter editorial – 23-10-2020

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 23 October 2020.

In this issue we open with the hot topic of the season: Teleworking from outside of your place of employment! A topic as hot as the number of different opinions about it, a situation that led us to launch a survey to get a real pulse of the situation.

We also cover a topic that, with the ever increasing number of fixed-term contact staff,  becomes more and more relevant, the transfer out of pensions from the Commission system to other systems.

We also bring you the latest news from the Brussels Local Staff Committee mismanagement practises on how experience stopped counting and contract staff should not expect much from the current leadership of this body.

On more positive news, we report on how the PMO listened to our request and increased the size of its team handling Belgium family allowances, which have see their values change earlier this year and have consequently increased the number of update requests in this area.

The training on burnout prevention, which we announced in our previous newsletter, is about to start. Its two exploratory sessions were attended by more than 70 colleagues. The first real training session will start on Wednesday 28 October and you can still join! The course is free of charge but donations to NGO Maïa are encouraged.

Finally we bring you the situation around the new European School of Brussels and how a grassroots movement that Generation 2004 proudly supported, managed to sway a vote that would have otherwise very negatively impacted many pupils and their families.

Newsletter editorial – 07-10-2020

Welcome to the Generation 2004 Newsletter of 7 October 2020.

In this issue we are first and foremost covering the current DG HR reinvention exercise: the ‘New’ HR Strategy. We look at it with a critical eye and frame it in the context of the other large and ongoing internal project of our institution: the Greening of the Commission, and how the latter has the potential to affect the earlier, and, we believe, unfortunately not for the better.

On Covid-19 related news, we report on the freezing of the return to office, which Generation 2004 had advocated for and was being disregarded about. The unfortunately infamous expression we told you so springs to mind. In other health related matters we raise awareness for potential surprises you should avoid when choosing a psychotherapist, and we will soon launch a training on burnout prevention, which will be delivered to you via WebEx by a colleague working in the Commission. The training will be free of charge but donations to a NGO are encouraged.

In two articles related to the education of your children, we remind you of the deadline to apply for repayment of exceptional education costs and we also cover what effectively can be accounted for, towards a full-time attendance at an educational establishment.

Finally we would like to correct a mistake in the previous newsletter where the article on the European Mobility Week 2020 was wrongly listed.

That’s all for now, we hope you will enjoy the reading and, as usual, we invite you to let us know what you think or if we can help you in any way.

Newsletter editorial – 28-09-2020

After a good, albeit strange summer break, the Generation 2004 newsletter is back.

In this issue we will report on the reply we got on a note we sent to DG INGESTAD where we raised concerns over negative discrimination against Contract Agents and  ASTs who were not allowed to participate in the recently launched internal competitions. As it turns out… as usual… we were “wrong” and there is no such thing as discrimination in the Commission… On a loosely related topic, we have analysed the participation and inclusion, or lack thereof, of JRC AST colleagues into the AD certification exercise for ASTs. Yet again, absolutely no discrimination, which, in this instance, actually generates discrimination itself…

We also keep covering the CHAFEA debacle and the potential for the huge brain drain that may result from the undergoing relocation of the Executive Agency’s services to Brussels.

To end on a more positive note we will also cover the recent introduction of a national-insurance card for colleagues in the Netherlands and finally we cover the European Mobility week‘s most famous feature: its car-free Sunday, with an emphasis on how it happened in Brussels!

This is all for now and more will come soon, meanwhile, enjoy the reading!

Newsletter editorial – 3 July 2020

Welcome to the 3 July 2020 Generation 2004 Newsletter.

Summer is coming! Except, of course, if you are posted in an EU Delegation in the southern hemisphere! But before you go on a well-deserved break: vacation or staycation, we would like to cover a few issues.

First and definitely foremost we cover the recent opening of a new Commission club called “TAs club! CAs and ASTs not allowed!!!” Yes, we are obviously referring to the ongoing Internal Competition, open only to Temporary Agents. To celebrate the event we have launched a long overdue petition in support of Contract Agents and also sent a note to DG HR raising the frustration of both Contact Agents and Assistants, who were summarily excluded from this competition.

We continue with the follow up on the Chafea drama and then, surprise, surprise we cover the fate of our British colleagues in the aftermath of Brexit. Yes, we feel this saga will never end!

We also cover how, no matter what, the Commission bureaucratic cogs and wheels can’t stay still, and despite the COVID-19 crisis still manages to develop and implement rules for missions in a time where these are for the most of it at a standstill…

To cheer us up we do have some good news coming from DG FISMA, where following Generation 2004’s intervention a too restrictive interpretation of the rules on the summer teleworking  from abroad  was corrected. Thank you DG FISMA!!!

To close this issue, if you are a Commission colleague working in EU Delegations to third countries we invite you to fight for your rights… The EEAS is forcing some colleagues to take annual leave when this shouldn’t be the case.

Finally… Have we mentioned summer is coming? Oh well! Conditions to enjoy it may not be the best this year given the tragic COVID-19 pandemic, but try to enjoy your break as best as possible. To get you started, here is a timeless summertime classic interpreted by Ella and Louis!

Meanwhile, at the Generation 2004 Newsletter headquarters we are also taking off and will be back in September! So long and thank you for all the readings!

Newsletter editorial – 17 June 2020

Welcome to the 17 June 2020 Generation 2004 Newsletter.

The promotion proposals appeals season is opening tomorrow and as usual, Generation 2004 is here to help.

In this issue we cover the 1 billion proposed cuts to the MFF’s heading 7 and its implications, the updated teleworking rules in the times of COVID.

On more COVID related matters we further report on the progress on the Social Dialogue that started with our petition for a special leave for parents of young children, which, by now, gathered 2090 signatures (and is still open), and raise parents awareness to the situation and update of the Commissions childcare facilities’ rules. Finally, follwoing the publication of our article on reimbursement of personal costs incurred during the COVID teleworking period we got many requests for help to prepare the Art. 90.1 request and we have prepared a template for you to use.

We hope you enjoy it!