*Update 23.11.2023, thanks to the colleagues who shared their ideas on this situation, we have added their observations below.*
Original article: Luxembourg is a great place to work, you just have to find somewhere to live first! In its increasingly desperate attempts to do nothing of substance (12 actions for Luxembourg, for example), while still claiming to be working on increasing the attractivity of Luxembourg as a workplace, the Commission now seems to have resorted to the roadmap set out in a classic song.
‘Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man
“We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!’ (Hotel California, the Eagles)
The currently still-open competition EPSO/AD/411/23 for nuclear inspectors and policy officers in nuclear energy contains a specific section about Luxembourg (most laureates from the list will join DG Energy (ENER) in Luxembourg). When Generation 2004 first heard of this, we expected to find some sort of warning about the high cost of living in Luxembourg and the difficulties in finding any sort of decent accommodation within a reasonable commuting range, that would not require a bank robbery. Or maybe a link to the brochure about the aid that the Luxembourgish state offers also to EU staff so that they may afford accommodation in Luxembourg. But no, this is not at all the content of this section, which we quote in full below:
INFORMATION ON PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT UPON RECRUITMENT IN LUXEMBOURG AND ON TRANSFERS
Successful candidates on reserve lists will be recruited as probationer officials, mainly to posts based in Luxembourg.
Article 29(1)(a)(i) and (b) of the staff regulations of Officials of the European Union provide that, at any time in their career, officials may apply for a transfer within the same Union institution or agency or to another Union institution or agency.
However, candidates should note that, in the interests of the service:
- during an official’s first 3 years of service after starting work as a probationer official, a transfer to another Union institution or agency that does not involve a change of place of employment will only be possible in exceptional, duly justified cases,
- during an official’s first 4 years of service after starting work as a probationer official, a transfer within the same institution or agency or to another institution or agency that involves a change of place of employment will only be possible in exceptional, duly justified cases.
It should also be noted that any such transfer between institutions or agencies will be conditional upon the agreement of the official’s original institution or agency and the institution or agency to which they wish to transfer.
In order to be able to perform their duties under the best possible conditions, newly recruited officials must be given the opportunity to integrate as effectively as possible into the culture and working environment of the place of employment and the institution or agency that recruits them.
Moreover, recruiting institutions or agencies invest resources in induction and training for new officials and in helping them to integrate both at work and in the place of employment. It is thus necessary to ensure a certain degree of continuity and predictability in the filling of posts by requiring newly recruited officials to complete a minimum period of service both in the recruiting institution or agency and in their place of employment.
Of course, we have asked for HR for clarifications about this entire section. We note the broad spillover effects of this ‘rule’: if an institution or agency does not have a presence in Luxembourg, this rule would restrict its ability to recruit persons from Luxembourg – for 4 years, which is substantial. We also note that this phrase is exclusively applied to Luxembourg: no other location is mentioned in the notice of competition, despite there being a number of possible recruitment sites: Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Karlsruhe (Germany), Ispra (Italy), Petten (The Netherlands), Geel (Belgium), Brussels (Belgium), Seville (Spain).
Finally, we note that the previous AD competition, EPSO/AD/410/23 in transport, which equally features Luxembourg among its locations (Brussels (Belgium), Strasbourg (France), Luxembourg (Luxembourg)), does not have a similar restriction – there simply is no such section. Apparently, HR is not worried that the colleagues who would start mostly in DG MOVE in Brussels, would run away from Brussels that quickly. This is only a problem for Luxembourg, where new recruits seem to run away so quickly that we now have a specific Luxembourg attractivity prison clause in the competition notices.
Of course, we will keep you posted once the answers from DG HR to our note arrive. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us or leave a comment below.
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Update 23.11.2023: input from colleagues.
- A similar clause is apparently used frequently at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
- There are similar restrictions at the Council (Brussels) related to holding people in certain roles (e.g. via labelling it as ‘critical’ in sysper) meaning that the person in that role cannot move to another for a specific time (e.g. 5 years).
- It can take some 2 years to be up to speed (‘ramp time‘) as a nuclear inspector (e.g. training, authorisations from Member States and any pertinent health concerns) so it might make sense to ensure that this investment is useful, in that the colleague stays long enough to exercise the role.
- We will keep our eyes open to see whether this clause is applied exclusively to roles with significant ramp time to explain/justify the restriction.
- Are such limitations covered in the Staff Regulations?
- We don’t find anything specific on this, but do find generally that institutions prefer not to make life difficult for each other.