Newsletter article

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)’.

Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

Yes, we can! This is the bottom line of this article. Yes, we can convince the Commission to do the right thing, even if it takes a lot of pressure (and more pressure) and  notes (and more notes). After many discussions and meetings, DG HR has agreed in its Coronavirus update #23 to reimburse the costs for a screen and an ergonomic chair with ceilings of €150 and €200, respectively. While the reimbursement process has only just been set out (and for seconded national experts (SNEs) is still being worked on), this is a huge win for our colleagues, and we take the opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us during the last 8 months while we fought this uphill battle. A special thanks goes to the colleagues who used our template to request a reimbursement. While DG HR has refused these Art. 90.1 requests, the sheer number of them proved that there is a real need. This is your victory.

Continue reading Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

Brexit: CJEU confirms fears on loss of entitlements

So, the comforting ideals expressed in ex-President Juncker’s post-Brexit-referendum message to staff appear to have been no more than kind words, something we suggested might be the case in our previous article Were British Hats really left at the door?

The CJEU has read and applied the Staff Regulations with no special consideration for any ‘European spirit’ and agrees with the Commission that this re-evaluation of entitlements has always been clear to staff, an outcome which is more than a little disconcerting, given that ex-President Juncker himself encouraged affected Brussels-based staff to acquire Belgian nationality. Continue reading Brexit: CJEU confirms fears on loss of entitlements

Need to design a modern HR policy? Please start with the most evident modifications!

Generation 2004 strongly believes that a professional and efficient public administration implies competent, motivated and impartial civil servants working in a system dedicated to serving the public interest. However, while it may be relatively easy to of a merit-based civil service in conceptual terms, it is much more difficult to define the ways and means of putting it in practice. If anyone has any doubts about this, then Generation 2004 suggests that any doubtful minds consults. Continue reading Need to design a modern HR policy? Please start with the most evident modifications!

On endorsing the flawed promotion system: amnesia at the staff committee

Selective amnesia is a useful thing to keep at hand, not only in politics but also in the staff representation. At the October plenary of the Central Staff Committee some of our colleagues were kind enough to remind us of this fact.

What happened? Well, a little context first: as was already done in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 etc., several members of the Joint Promotion Committee (JPC) abstained in the votes on the final outcome of this year’s promotion exercise. Continue reading On endorsing the flawed promotion system: amnesia at the staff committee

Extension for your decision on the new local agent conditions – 31 June 2021

See our first article on the modernisation of local agent (LA) conditions of employment. 

Extension of timeline for LAs to decide whether or not to sign up to the addendum for LA conditions 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the situation of European External Action Service (EEAS) HR Unit BA.5 being rather under-staffed, there is a delay in preparing the local-law reference guide for 140 delegations. Therefore, the initial deadline for signing up the addendum has now been extended to 30 June 2021. See Joint Decision ADMIN(2020) 45 for details. 

Continue reading Extension for your decision on the new local agent conditions – 31 June 2021

Promotion/reclassification exercises 2020

As you probably already know, this year’s  promotion (officials)/reclassification (contract agents) exercises just ended with the publication of the lists on 12 November.

If your name is on a list and you were promoted/reclassified then Generation 2004 would like to warmly congratulate you. We are sure it was well deserved!

Continue reading Promotion/reclassification exercises 2020

The yearly salary update: time for the exception clause

Eurostat has published its 2020 report on the yearly salary update. While in the recent past this update was essentially a percentage number, this year the exception clause introduced in the 2014 Staff Regulations, will be triggered for the first time.

The relevant provisions regarding the exception clause are in Annex XI, Chapter 5, ‘moderation and exception clauses’ of the Staff Regulations. The provisions do not make for easy reading for non-lawyers, but essentially the exception clause consists of two ingredients:

  1. A decrease in the European Union’s gross domestic product (GDP)
  2. A positive specific indicator

Continue reading The yearly salary update: time for the exception clause

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.

The new European School of Brussels

The European Schools of Brussels have been under great stress for a long period of 10 years due to overcrowding.

The inaction of the Belgium state to comply with its legal obligations to provide a new school, coupled with the lack of real pressure from the European Commission for it to do so, led to an extreme situation that needs very urgent attention. Continue reading The new European School of Brussels