European Union Civil Service

From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

EUROPEAN UNION CIVIL SERVICE – a general term used to describe the officials of the EU institutions (including the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament). According to the “Staff Regulations of Officials of the EU”, the EU official is any person who has been appointed to an established post on the staff of one of the institutions of the EU by an instrument issued by the Appointing Authority of that institution. The EU officials are to follow the principles of professional ethics and ethos in their actions. They should perform their duties objectively, impartially and in keeping with their duty of loyalty towards the EU. The principles of the EU civil service also include a commitment to the Union and the EU citizens, integrity, objectivity, respect for others and transparency. The TFEU states that the institutions, bodies and organisational units (offices and agencies) of the EU, while performing their tasks, benefit from the support of an open, effective and independent European administration. The officials of the EU institutions work on the basis of the already mentioned “Staff Regulations”, which is consistent with the provisions of primary law regulating, inter alia, the operating rules of individual EU institutions. It defines in detail the rights and duties of officials, and also specifies the criteria for promotion and career, remuneration, social security, dismissal and pensions. All additional issues related to the activities of the staff of a given institution may be regulated, for example, in internal regulations that do not have universally binding force. Among the EU officials, there are categories of administrators (AD) and assistants (AST). Administrators have the task of developing policy directions, monitoring the implementation of the EU law, and preparing analyses. They also have an advisory function. The AD category includes, for example, general directors, department managers, translators, lawyers and economists. Assistants’ work is of auxiliary character. The AST category includes, among others, administrative managers, office and technical staff. Staff flow between categories is possible. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) established in 2003 is responsible for the recruitment of employees. The procedure for the selection of candidates is usually the same in all institutions. Employees are employed for a definite and indefinite period. The Staff Regulations define various forms of employment of employees by the EU institutions. The status of some of them is different from that of an official. One can distinguish among others contract employees, temporary staff, interns and experts. On the official websites of the EU institutions one can find information that they employ over 40,000 people from all member states. A characteristic feature of the EU staff is their multiculturalism. Most employees come from Belgium, France and Italy. The model functioning in the EU institutions is similar to the → career model of the civil service, but it is changing, especially noticeable after 2000, when the reform of the civil service system started, initiated by the Commissioner for Administration, Vice-President of the European Commission Neil Kinnock. In the 1950s, the solutions adopted in the European Communities were based on the administrative model of the founding states: France. Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. This model was characterised by attachment to administrative procedures and hierarchy and lack of flexibility in taking up new challenges. The immediate causes of subsequent reforms were scandals in the European Commission that led to its resignation, but also preparations for the accession to the EU of ten new countries in 2004. The reforms were aimed at changeing the behavior and attitudes of European officials. A new system of monitoring compliance with “Ethical Standards” was implemented, based on the OLAF Anti-Fraud Office, the European Ombudsman and the Advisory Group on Ethics Standards. The European Code of Good Administrative Behaviour was introduced, and also financial management was improved. The specific civil service of the EU is difficult to measure with the measure of civil service systems of the nation states, it is also difficult to compare to other international structures. In European countries, in accordance with the prevailing historical traditions, different definitions of the concept of “civil service” were adopted. In Poland, one can find an opinion that the civil service can only occur in the state, and therefore in relation to the officials of an international organisation, such as the EU, the term “public service in the EU institutions” would be more appropriate. Nevertheless, the term “European Civil Service” is much more popular in Polish and English-language literature on the subject (→ civil service) [ J. Wiśniewska-Grzelak ].

Literature: J. Itrich-Drabarek, Uwarunkowania, standardy i kierunki zmian funkcjonowania służby cywilnej w Polsce na tle europejskim [Conditions, standards and directions of changes in the functioning of the civil service in Poland against the European background], Warszawa 2010 ■ E. Latoszek, M. Proczek, Specyfika biurokracji Unii Europejskiej [The specificity of the bureaucracy of the European Union], [in:] Biurokracja. Fenomen władzy politycznej w strukturach administracyjnych [Bureaucracy. The phenomenon of political power in administrative structures], ed. K. Zuba, Toruń 2007 ■ J. Wiśniewska-Grzelak, Służba publiczna w instytucjach Unii Europejskiej [Public service in the institutions of the European Union], [in:] Teorie i metody w studiach europejskich [Theories and methods in the European studies], ed. K.A. Wojtaszczyk, J. Wiśniewska-Grzelak, Warszawa 2015.