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European Commission - Press release

Vice-President Šefčovič welcomes key step forward on reform of the EU civil service

Brussels, 26 April 2012 – Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee yesterday afternoon (25) which brings reform of the EU's civil service - and significant cost savings - a step closer.

The Committee backed a report by Ms Dagmar Roth-Behrendt MEP on a package of proposals by the Commission which would save €1 billion by 2020. The proposals aim at reconciling two objectives: preserving the quality and the attractiveness of the EU civil service whilst bringing adjustments and savings required by the financial and economic crisis.

Vice-President Šefčovič said: "I welcome this report and its overall balanced approach. I find it particularly encouraging that it received broad political support.

"This is a good basis for further discussions between the European Parliament, Council and Commission, and should allow for a swift adoption after the summer."


The Commission adopted its package of proposals on 13 December 2011. The package is now with the Council and European Parliament for further discussion and adoption by the ordinary legislative procedure.

The Commission proposal includes:

  • A 5% reduction of staff in all institutions over the period 2013-17, through normal turnover of staff.

  • An increase in the minimum working week for staff in all institutions from 37.5 hours to 40 hours, without compensatory wage adjustments.

  • The normal retirement age will increase from 63 to 65. The possibility of working voluntarily until 67 will be made easier.

  • In order to take account of the current difficult economic situation, the special levy (tax in addition to income tax), which will expire in 2013, will not only be replaced by a new 'solidarity levy' but also raised to 6% (currently 5.5%).

  • The rules on early retirement will be substantially restricted (increase of minimum age for early retirement from 55 to 58; access to the scheme without a reduction of pension rights will be reduced by 50%).

  • Access to the highest grades and salaries in the "assistant" career will be restricted to the best performing assistants who successfully apply for a post with the highest level of responsibilities in this category.

  • Salaries of new secretarial and clerical staff will be lowered (according to the Commission proposal) by around 18%.

Other Commission proposals are: a new and simplified method for adjusting salaries and pensions based on the political decisions taken by all 27 Member States for their national civil servants, a new and simplified exception clause to react quickly to an economic crisis, a reduction in the maximum number of leave days granted to staff for their annual trip to their home countries from six days to three, a modernised way to calculate the distance to the home country which will reduce individual allowances, an extension in the maximum duration of contracts for contract agents in the institutions from three years to six, and more consistent rules for staff in EU agencies.

Contacts :

Antonio Gravili (+32 2 295 43 17)

Marilyn Carruthers (+32 2 299 94 51)

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