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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Should we feel sorry for underpaid EU civil servants?

A tale of woe? 
Comparison with civil servants in the UK
The European Parliament has published a helpful graphic to explain the terrible conditions that EU civil servants have to endure. EU civil servants have to work 37.5 hours a week (i.e 9 - 5:30 with a merger hour for lunch) and retire at the age of 65 on a potential 70% of their final salary.

Not all EU civil servants are overpaid, some (for instance some contractors) are not, and many work hard but there are some interesting omissions in this particular public information advert, such as:

Number 1) An average EU yearly salary is approx £67,693 (€78,503).

Number 2) An average EU yearly salary is approx £78,524.23 (€91,064) if you claim the tax free 16% expatriate allowance (an estimated 70% of EU staff do this).

Number 3) EU officials pay tax at their own specially low rate. On an average EU salary + expat allowance of around £78,524.23 you would pay only £12,610.40 in EU tax (16.06% in total). Whereas in the UK you would pay £26,201.54 in tax (i.e. 33.36%).

And this is before going into the arcane details of travel expenses, household allowances and free school fees....we will leave it up to you as to whether these area really such bad working conditions.

Detail - Number of EU officials:
Detail - EU tax:

If an EU official has a monthly salary 6,938.38 [83,260.56 per year] – he / she would pay EU tax of 1,292.53 per month [or 15,510.40 per year], the same as an annual UK salary of £67,693.3 and paying only £12,610.40 in tax (a marginal rate of 45% but an actual rate of only 18.6%).
However in the UK tax system an annual salary of £67,693.3 would set you back £21,652.55 in tax and National Insurance (i.e an actual rate of 32% and a marginal rate (inc NI) of 42%).

Many EU officials however claim a tax free expatriate allowance. If you add the 16% these EU officials can claim for not living in their own state then have an effective EU ‘salary’ of £78,524.23 with still only £12,610.40 paid in tax (16.06% in total). Whereas in the UK you would pay 26,201.54 in tax + NI on a salary of £78,524.23 (i.e. 33.36%).

In this case a tax saving of £13,591.54.


Jesper said...

This reminds me of annoying salespeople who claim that what they're selling is cheap considering the value of the features it has.

If a feature doesn't meet my need or requirement then the value of that feature is zero to me.

Remove the features that I don't need or ask for, give me a price and then ask me if I find that their product provides me with value for money.

& the quoted figures about retirement benefits.... Why not compare it with retirement benefits for Swedish public servants?
Or most people in the private sector for that matter

Taking the lead on pension reform is apparently not on the cards for EU-institutions as that would hurt their private pockets.

Anonymous said...

Few more data:
Purchasing power evolution of salaries of national civil servants (central government) between 2004 and 2011:
EU civil servants: -7.6%
DE civil servants: -4.5%
UK civil servants: -3.2%
FR civil servants: -0.3%
BE civil servants: +2.3%
NL civil servants: +2.9%

Net salary evolution in 2011:
EU civil servants: +0% (proposed 1.7% rejected by Council).
DE federal civil servants: +1.3% (decision of October '11: +2.44% as of 1 January '12).
UK civil servants: +1.3%
FR civil servants: +2.0%.
NL civil servants: +2.0%
BE civil servants: +3.6%.

Purchasing power evolution 2011:
EU civil servants: -3.6% (given Council's refusal of 2011 pay adjustment).
DE civil servants: -1.1%
FR civil servants: -0.3%.
NL civil servants: -0.5%
UK civil servants: -2.8%
BE civil servants: +0.2%

Weekly working time obligation:
EU civil servants: 37.5h; COM proposal: 40h as of 1 Jan 2013 as compensation for a 5% staff cut (€835 million of savings until 2020).
DE civil servants: 39h for contract staff, 41h for officials.
FR civil servants: 35h.
NL civil servants: 36h (compensation hours if they voluntarily work longer).
UK civil servants: 36h.
BE civil servants: 38h.

Pension contribution:
EU civil servants: 11.6%.
DE civil servants: 0%.
FR civil servants: 7.85% (as of 2020: 10.55%).
UK civil servants: 3.5%.
NL civil servants: 6.42%
BE civil servants: 0%

Annual accrual rate (pension rights per year of service):
EU civil servants: 1.9%.
DE civil servants: 1.79% (but: unlike the EU pension scheme, the German scheme recognises pre-service periods like time spent after the age of 17 on education, studies, preparatory services etc. as service periods on which the 1.79% are applied, see Articles 6 to 14 of the Gesetz über die Versorgung der Beamten und Richter des Bundes).
FR civil servants: 1.81%.
NL civil servants: 2.05%
UK civil servants: 2.3%

Normal retirement age:
EU civil servants: 63; Commission proposal 65, and easier to work until 67.
DE civil servants: 65 (increase to 67 with a transition).
NL civil servants: 65.
FR civil servants: from 60 to 62 in 2018.
The Commission reform proposal will bring the pension age closer to the DE civil service bearing in mind that EU staff works abroad and is expatriate staff until retirement. (70% of EU expat staff leave the host country after retirement.)

Early retirement age/minimum pensionable age:
EU civil servants: 55; Commission proposal 58.
DE civil servants: 63.
NL civil servants: 60.
UK civil servants: 50.

Maximum rate of pension:
EU civil servants: 70% of final salary.
DE civil servants: 71.25% of final salary.
FR civil servants: 75% of final salary (can be increased to 80%).
NL civil servants: no clear information from NL government.
UK civil servants: 75% of highest earning (2007 scheme); 66% (1972 + 2002 scheme).
To bear in mind: 45% of EU staff receive a pension which is lower than 70%. 15% receive less than 50%. The average is currently 62% and will go down to 55% based on the 2004 pension reform and 2012 proposals.

Commission statistics
Eurostat statistics

Interesting how e.g. comparing taxes you do not take into account 'special levy'. Or pension contribution, which is 11,6% in EU (nb not 1,9% as you indicated in one of your reports) vs 3,5% in UK. 6%+8,1%=14,1% difference less.

And that is only comparing with conditions of UK servants at home, when better comparison ("apples with apples") would be e.g. with those working for the Commonwealth. AFTER reform enjoying expat allowance, free (!) medical for them + family, better schooling options etc.

I guess when bashing the EU facts may be aplied selectively, if matter at all.

The best indication of EU attractiveness is the number of candidates it attracts from better-off MSs, such as UK, Germany, Austria or Scandinavian countries. Even German MEPs expect to employ in future mostly Greeks& Romanians, it seems.

Jesper said...

This is both sad and fun:

8000 amendments, a fact to be proud of or something to be ashamed of?

Open Europe blog team said...

Hi Anonymous, thank you for those figures. The 'special levy' of 5.5% was not reapplied in 2013 so that accounts for the tax cut EU civil servants have just received.


Jesper said...

& this:
"EU civil servants: 37.5h; COM proposal: 40h as of 1 Jan 2013 as compensation for a 5% staff cut (€835 million of savings until 2020)."

Rather keep benefits high for themselves than sharing the work and salaries with more colleagues. An example of solidarity or displaying blatant self-interest?

Anonymous said...


> just received.
From Cameron, no less :).

Its suppression equals salary freeze, let us remember.

What would you bet that it will be re-applied at the earliest opportunity and at a higher level? [A serious question.]

By the way, can you indicate any OE statement, tweet etc informing about special levy imposition (i.e. tax increase)? Or is it one of these things you did not consider the public needs to be informed about?
[Now, that question is rhetorical].

Ian said...

'Anonymous' has started early on this project. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9845442/EU-to-set-up-euro-election-troll-patrol-to-tackle-Eurosceptic-surge.html

Before that budget is released I hope its your day off. I wouldn't want you posting such things during the the working hours without employer approval. Best you get on the training as I am still unconvinced of your argument.

Ian said...

'Anonymous' has started early on this project. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/9845442/EU-to-set-up-euro-election-troll-patrol-to-tackle-Eurosceptic-surge.html

Before that budget is released I hope its your day off. I wouldn't want you posting such things during the the working hours without employer approval. Best you get on the training as I am still unconvinced of your argument.

Rollo said...

We should do our damndest to make them feel hard done by and underpaid. We should encourage them to go on strike, indefinitely. Then the world could see not just how little useful work they do but how much damage they cause. At least on strike, they cease doing harm. What we must not do is pay them another penny.

christina speight said...

Should we feel sorry? NO! The comparisons above given so bravely Anonymously are misleading v=because the base figure is critical and not discussed. If we can some figures of the range and compare those with member countries we might feel it was a bit more honest. As it is I suspect the origin to be the trade union now on strike.

The figures above are of no use at all. Others see other deliberate exclusions too.

Jesper said...


"EU officials on strike over pay, again

05.02.13 @ 09:29"

Anonymous said...

As an EU official I will not win a prize by commenting on this, but let's give it a try.

As someone who started on 01/05/2004 I earn 2.000 euro less each month than a colleague who started on 30/04/2004. He does the same job and has the same function. I nearly earn 4.000 euro, which I'm not complaining about. This difference will also reflect on my pension in the future.

Do take into account that EU officials don't get a 13th or 14th month, no money for vacation and that there is no tax deduction when buying houses. We don't have a company car either. Some have service phones and a laptop. If you take this into account, my salary is the equivalent to something around 3.000 euro.

If you are 40 something with tons of experience, and have to bring over your spouse to a different country, who doesn't speak the language, you're going to think twice, since she will not be able to get a job. In fact, some countries are not going to be represented anymore amongst the officials, as there is no benefit.

The bottom line is that there is a huge salary gap between the pre and post 2004 staff, which has even increased over the years. Adding the third language requirement to get a first promotion has blocked some of them in the lower grades for a while, meaning there was more budget for the pre 2004 staff to get promotions.

For the fun of it, let's assume that all the staff which was hired before 2004 dies tomorrow and you replace them with new staff. You would have to increase the salary of the EU officials to meet your proposed cuts :-)

What I'm saying is that I have contributed more than you are asking for in 2004, whereas the old staff started earning more. So now one of the proposals is that the new generation has to do the job with 5% less staff, because the others were greedy. Having said that, many already work longer hours.

Jesper said...

Solidarity shown within EU-institutions does match the solidarity they show with people outside of EU-institutions.

The mentioned salary is higher than about the salary received by approximately 85% of the people employed in Sweden. Taxes are higher in Sweden so the after-tax income is probably higher than what 90% of the employed in Sweden receive.

The salary stats:

Few people view Sweden as a poor country.

& the complaints about things we need to take into account: What you're talking about is salary and Benefit In Kind. If you got them then we'd add them to your income. Not getting them does not mean it can be deducted from your income.

Which countries will have difficulty finding staff willing to work for EU-institutions?
Which areas risk skills shortage?

Would be nice to see whether or not those areas include competences which shouldn't be at supra-national level.

Anonymous said...

@Jesper I never said the salary was low. I'm not deducting the benefits I don't have from my salary, but was giving you the equivalent normal salary.

You take Sweden as an example. Let's assume you could set the salary of the EU official. You are looking to hire a Swede with 10 years experience at least. Would you consider 1500 euro would be a good starting salary?

Would you move to Brussels for that money? You'd have to pay at least 800 euro/month for accomodation and costs. With 10 years experience, chances are, the Swede is not single anymore, meaning you probably have to pay a little more for accomodation.

That leaves you about 700 euro each month for food and other stuff, which is not bad, unless the Swede had planned to go back home and visit friends and family once in a while. Forget about buying an appartment or house with that salary in Brussels or going back home for that matter.

It's easy. The more you pay someone, the more people are willing to come, meaning the intitutions have more choice. In some competitions you have to score over 95% to pass the test, just because there are so many people that score heavily.

Getting back to solidarity. I had been hired under the old conditions, as the majority of the staff has been, I would immediately agree with all the proposals of Cameron.

By the way, I didn't strike. I fully expect having to pay the bill again with this reform. None of the post 2004 staff has made it to any management position.

Jesper said...


I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

First you start by implying that the salaries are so low that few would apply. Then you proceed to say that so many are applying that it is very difficult to get hired. See a contradiction?

Anonymous said...


I'm saying that you will not have any people applying from some countries, ex. UK, Sweden, Denmark.

And from the ones that are applying, you can't expect 10 years of experience anymore, but mostly people who have just left school. You'd still have to score heavily to get in, but the ones that will get the job, will have very little field experience, which will reflect the salaries that on offer.

So you may just as well want to get rid of the EU alltogether, since the staff will have become real bureaucrats, not knowing what they are talking about.

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has asked the member states to publish the salaries of their expats/diplomats. The answers have been very vague. If you look at the net salary of some of the diplomats in the uk, you get very close to the EU ones, 131918 pounds is not peanuts.

Jesper said...


what you're describing is not a pretty picture:
People are being hired and paid high salaries even when they are not qualified/right for the positions. That would be a good example of organisational failure.

Or maybe you're saying that the hired people do meet the qualifications for the positions? In that case, get back to me when the hypothetical problem is closer to being a real problem.

Had a quick look about allowances, EU actually pays household allowance if the spouse is not in employment:
"If you are married or in a recognised partnership (same-sex couples), but do not have dependent children, you may receive the household allowance if your spouse or partner is not gainfully employed. If you spouse or partner is working, then the allowance may be granted only if his/her salary income does not exceed a certain threshold."

Jesper said...

Better link for the allowances:

Read under Section 1, Family allowances. Article 1.

Anonymous said...

I guess I need to get married quickly.

Here are the staff regulations

You finally understand the picture is not pretty? That's exactly what I am saying. As I said earlier. There is no problem at the moment since none of the newcomers make it into senior positions.

The newcomers since 2004 are not a problem either, since they come mostly from the former eastern european countries. So they earn a nice salary compared to their qualifications. When most of the senior staff retires, problems will start to arise.

So I can conclude that you don't have a problem with diplomats from the member states earning nearly as much money as the eurocrats and even more if the proposed cuts are being enforced? Maybe you just don't like Europe.

Jesper said...


have you bothered to read the staff regulations you linked to?

Annex VII. Read it. Your concerns are addressed there.

You're helping us understand all the benefits you get as an employee of an EU-institution. I didn't even know about the money for a yearly trip to home you guys get until I started looking at your allowances:
"Officials shall be entitled to be paid in each calendar year a sum equivalent to the cost of travel from the place
of employment to the place of origin"
Weren't you concerned about not being paid enough to afford a trip home? It seems your employer pay for one per year for you :-)

Your logic escapes me. Claiming that someone is overpaid makes me dislike an entire continent? How so?

You're describing a dysfunctional organisation and it is not a pretty picture: Juniors are of such bad quality that they can't be promoted to seniors without problems arising. But according to you it is a problem that they aren't promoted. Seniors so comfortable in their roles that the only other role they consider leaving for is the role of a retiree.

Your arguments make it sound like both seniors and juniors are overpaid and that some of them might not even be capable to do their jobs. And to be perfectly honest, an executive handling staff retiring as badly as you decribe it being done doesn't seem to be of high quality either.

Anonymous said...


Hi OE.

The 'special levy' of 6% was just reapplied -5 weeks after expiry- so that accounts for the tax INCREASE EU civil servants have just received. As it was clear enough and of course you did not take the bet.

I expect to see you publicizing that fact. Not.

Anonymous said...

I got hired to work in the country I live in. So in my case I don't get those tickets nor do I get expat allowance, which is normal. They do get one ticket a year to go home and depending on the distance a (few) day(s) of leave. So yes, you can go home once, for free.

The staff regulations are online and everyone can read what you can earn if you manage to pass the tests. My point was that the expats of the national governments make just as much or nearly as much. The European Parliament has asked for every member state to make the salaries of their diplomats public.

Talking about promotions. Junior staff can't be promoted to senior positions. The grade is not related to a position. I passed a senior competition and got hired on a senior position, but in a junior grade.

As far as promotions are concerned. You get hired either as assistant in grade 1, or in AST 3 for technical assistants. Administrators get hired in grade AD 5.

Assistants can get to 11. Administrators can get to 16, in theory. On average, you get a promotion every 4 - 5 years, meaning that the new staff can never get to the top grades. The reform which is on the table will limit this even further.

Salaries of the newcomers have been reduced by 30% in 2004 and it will not get any better. So the current average may be 6500 euro each month, but it will be more like 4000 or less if the next reform goes through and the old staff will have retired.

If you really think we earn bars gof gold, you should really have a go at getting in.

mike said...

Cameron hit the nail on the head: "We've cut their 7-year credit card limit."

Eurocrats are tax money junkies who should detox.

These scroungers enjoy lavish salaries & fees. They pay Caiman Islands-like income tax rates.

Using our tax money they have pushed many of us, Brussels natives, out of the city.

Eurocrats do not have any hands-on responsability or accountability.
Whenever one their big projects fails, they blame their national/regional colleagues for it.

Their main skill is doing and saying nothing in 5 languages.

mike said...

The income tax rate this article mentions is a hoax!

Even a Eurocrat who earns 7600 €/month only pays €900 of taxes. I.e. an overall tax rate of barely 11% !

On top of the 16% expat fee there are many other fees -either % of wage or lump sums- that are entirely tax free.

Eurocrats also enjoy numerous rebates. E.g. lower mortgage rates (e.g. ING).

If there is anybody they should be compared with, it is not UK or Swedish civil servants, but Brussels natives, who pay up to 65% income tax rates!

Anonymous said...


It's the quite the opposite. Everything that goes wrong in a country is blamed on Europe.
Every rule that has a positive effect is supposedly invented by the local governement. Eurocrats don't have to win elections and are happily used as scapegoats. No wonder people don't like Europe. If there were to be a referendum, I'm convinced the UK will bail out of the EU, because people don't have a clue what effects the EU has on them. If you would have a referendum and you would only allow UK based business people to vote, you'd have a different outcome.

The tax rate of 11% is more or less correct I think, but there are other deductions as well for pension and sickness insurance. The total 'tax' rate is between 20 and 30%, depending on the salary.

I don't entirely agree with numerous rebates. I agree eurocrats get a rebate on their mortgage. It's a few percentage points less than a normal mortgage, but there is no tax deduction possible for the mortgage.
Eurocrats can also get a diplomatic rebate when buying a car, but that more or less compares to the rebates you get when buying a car at the car show in Brussels. This only valid with certain brands and on a certain models and the rebate varies from brand to brand. Apart from that I can't think of any 'advantages'.

Buying a house in Brussels is also nearly impossible for the new eurocrats, at least in the nicer areas.

The Brussels natives pay 25% of tax upto 7900 euro and 50% on the bit above 34330 euro.

mike said...


Could you please specify that 7900 and 34330 are ANNUAL income figures!

I.e. a Belgian earning € 34330 a YEAR already is due to a 50% tax rate.

The example I used is that of a Eurocrat earning 7600 per MONTH !

Doesn't this quite confirm Cameron's words when he talked about "the parallel world Eurocrats are living in"?

Anonymous said...


Yes, sorry I should have said that the link was about the annual income.

As I said earlier. Eurocrats still make good money, even the ones that started after 2004, but it is not anywhere near what is being claimed, at least not for the new people. One last try.

If you only take the staff of pre 2004 into account, the average salary is probably even higher.

If you only look at the salary of post 2004, the salary is already lower than the worst cuts suggested by Cameron & Co.

Go have a look at the commonwealth link and see what diplomats of the uk get paid. It says nett income, and doesn't even discuss benefits. These salaries are in the same range as the current post 2004 staff.

By the way, around 75% of the members (and staff) of the European Parliament are in favour of adressing the single seat problem. It would save around 220.000.000 euro each year, but our leaders don't want to talk about it.

The EU asks them to make savings by changing the treaty and yet they focus on the (good) salary of the eurocrats, which they also pay to their own diplomats.

mike said...

Isn’t it remarkable nobody mentions the fees Eurocrats enjoy?
Because remarkable they are, these fees:

- an expat fee: 16% of basic salary
- an “allocation foyer”: 5% of basic salary
- a fee of 247,86 €/month per child
- an “allocation scolaire”: 221,5 €/month per child
- …

All fees are free of tax!

So, how much hard work does a Eurocrat have to put in to get these taxpayer-funded fees?

Let’s see:

- 24 holidays
- 7 public holidays
- 24 days off using flexitime
- time off during Christmas
- time off in Summer
- …

That’s a staggering 3 months a year!
Tell me: what kind of job allows one to be off 1/4th of the time?

Even the VP of the European commission once criticized this decadence.

In the middle of the sovereign debt crisis, the Greek bailout, bank stress tests, floods of immigrants following the Arab Spring, the EU institutions were running on 20% of staff level.

There obviously is plenty of fat to cut.
Next time the EU budget will be discussed, in 2020, we need again someone like Cameron. There is room for improvement in the areas of income tax rates, tax-free fees and holidays.

Anonymous said...

@ mike

Child allowances are very good compared to the national systems, I agree. The EU also organises child care for children upto 4 years but it costs around 800 euro per month. On top of that, you can't rely on family to take care of your children when they get sick. So you need a nanny or some other service, which you need to pay of course.

Again this is not entirely correct. Flexitime is something which only exists at the commission at the moment. The idea is that you get days off for the hours that you work longer. So it's not really 24 days off, as you have to work them first.

The staff regulations however say, that you are not allowed to do overtime, unless you are asked to do so, as far as the assistants are concerned. You are entitled for a compensation upto grade 5. After grade 5, you can't claim any overtime.

During Christmas we get one day or so. The rest is given from the public holidays which are in the weekends. You can count that as public holidays. For example, one public holiday is May 9th to celebrate Europe :-) We usually work that day and get it during the Christmas period.

There is no time off in summer, unless you take holidays.

However, one of the things being reviewed for the next reform, are the 'travel' holidays. Depending on your recruitement origin, you get between 0 and 6 days off. They take the distance between your work place and your official address at the time you were recruited and give you extra days based on that. They want to reduce this to a maximum of two days.

The rule is that you get 24 holidays.

Open Europe blog team said...

Hi Anonymous, we have now highlighted the reintroduction in the special levy at 6% for 2014 as agreed in the EU council last Friday. Thank you for highlighting this.

mike said...

Eurocrats excel in holding back –perhaps a work habit

Though every Eurocrat pretends the money (s)he receives to travel home is negligent, the EU spent € 55 million on private travel (MEP staff excluded) in 2009. I.e. an average of € 2,164 per civil servant!

Beside cheaper mortgages and special conditions on cars, Eurocrats do enjoy numerous rebates, e.g. Thalys and Eurostar.

24 holidays are a bare, theoretical minimum. That is, if you –as Anonymous indicates– only consider either Commission staff or other, certain pay grades; when you make abstraction of “flexitime”,…
Just for the record: in 2010, half of the staff in pay grades 12-16 took 19,185 days off using flexitime.
In 2011, junior Commission staff could enjoy up to 57 holidays, senior staff 63 days.
By the way, how do 55,000 Eurocrats manage to work the week around Christmas when the Commission, Council and Parliament are closed?

Anyway, let’s await the Staff Regulation reform. Let us also see how, and if, the € 2 billion savings in Administration will be implemented.

Anonymous said...

@Open Europe blog team
To be fair. I have no idea how they calculate the special levy. Maybe it varies depending on your income, or maybe it's a percentage on the taxes, but it doesn't come anywhere near the 6% on my salary.

I don't know where you get those numbers on private travel, but it could be correct, so I'm not going to comment on it.

I often take the eurostar, but I don't get any rebates. I would be glad to find out how I can get it.

As far as flexitime in grades 12-16 is concerned, that shouldn't be allowed. At least not on a 1 to 1 basis. Some of them work long hours and weekends. It seems fair that they can get a few days in return for that. However, working 24 extra days and taking them back in those grades, shouldn't be allowed as, in my opinion, it is against staff regulations.

I didn't say the officials worked the week around Christmas. You claimed it was a week extra. I'm saying it's a combination of public holidas, 24/12, 25/12 and 1/12 combined with public holidays which happen to fall in the weekends during the year. And some years, we do get a free extra day.

The calculation of the holidays is also a bit weird. You get let's say 26 days off work of 7.5 hours. When you take a day off they deduct 8 hours, meaing you lose a few days.

Flexitime are not holidays. It's basically claiming overtime. You have to work them first and not everybody has flextime. I can't get it.

When I started working for the institutions back in 2004 I had around 3 weeks of overtime in the first 3 months working here. I wasn't allowed to claim them back according to staff regulations. After that I still did overtime, but not to that extend, since I had found out my colleagues were earning around 45% for doing the same job.

What's going to happen with the new reform? People will be forced to work 40 hours a week, to compensate for the staff reduction of 5%. I for one will probably start sticking to those 40 hours and stop doing overtime.

Rumours have that they want to get to those savings by freezing the salaries for 2 years and apply some other special pension levy.

This article has an interesting section:
"Not all EU civil servants are overpaid, some (for instance some contractors) are not, and many work hard but there are some interesting omissions in this particular public information advert, such as:"

And then they go on talking about averages. As they rightly say and myself, that not everyone makes as much. No, it was a lot worse pre 2004, but these problems have beend adressed post 2004! So the numbers you are using to make cuts accross the board are wrong. They are averages and do not reflect the future of the EU institutions.

mike said...

The levy is calculated on basic salary excluding social security and pension contributions.
The first 2.654 € of basic salary are excluded as well. I.e. the levy is applied to the part of salary that exceeds € 2.654. Mind that we are talking MONTH figures!
Nor is the levy imposed on the hefty fees Eurocrats cash in every month.
Thus, the nowhere comes close to 6% of salary.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Mike. That sounds about right. It explains why I hardly special levy.

I found another interesting blog as I was looking for some numbers on the Kinnock reform, but I haven't been able to source them yet.

"The point is that Kinnock (with the support of the College of Commissioners) was mandated to reduce costs and give more flexibility and transparency to the European Administration. How can you do that with people you can't fire? You screw the incomers and create a new profile that you pay 50% left with little job security.

"The truth is that with Kinnock there was not a real negotiation, and the Admin just imposed its position. And I would not be surprised at all that the next commission comes with a new round of unpopular reform. And if we want to keep some of our privileges, we should get ready for real talks.

This time it wasn't the next commission, but the council.

mike said...


I take my figures from Martin Ehrenhauser, an MEP.

You are right: we cannot treat all public servants alike.

Apparently, huge differences in pay and conditions exist among EU staff. Pre-Kinnock Commission staff seems to be most privileged.

While doing a consulting assignment in a government undertaking, I noticed a lot of cuckoos among public servants. This resulted in a small group of people doing most of the work. I guess the EU institutions are no different.

One thing though puzzles me: Eurocrats always claim massive overtime. Even in the weekend they are saving Europe day and night. And not one of them is paid for it. “Me working only 60 hours a week? You must be joking! I work at least 80 hours a week.”
Why then do these hard-working officials strike against a reform that obliges them to work 40 hours a week?

mike said...

The level and honesty of this blog are quite impressive!

Anonymous’ argument that, contrary to EU officials, their peers at other supranational bodies (e.g. diplomats) are out of range is spot on.
Also, newspapers time after time make the mistake of treating all EU officials alike.
I also would like to mention that Eurocrat bashing, in particular the way many tabloids do, is quite beyond common decency.

The EU institutions appear to be a caste system. With maharajahs on top: the Commission and its staff seem to be untouchable.
Apparently, they maintain their privileges by targeting the lower scaled and last joined staff.
Perhaps that says more about top EU officials and the Europe they are creating than about the taxpayers criticizing it.

Anonymous said...

I've worked for a large private company as well. Once an organisation, private or public, reaches a certain number of people, there will always be cuckoos. The difference is that you risk getting fired in a private company, unless you start hiding in your trade union. In one way, it would be a lot better if officials could get fired more easily. That would solve a lot of problems.

Having said that, you mustn't forget that the EU is a highly policital organisation. The top jobs are divided amongst political parties, depending on who wins the elections. This means that those top jobs are not completely independant.

One of the reasons you pay those eurocrats a high salary is because you would like to keep them as independant as possible, not tempted to succumb to political pressure. Let's get back to Cameron and the diplomats. Let's say you pay them 4000 pounds each month, which is a very decent salary. For one, you will not be able to get the most skilled people, because they would go for top jobs in private companies, meaning there is a higher probability of a cuckoo ending up on their post. Secondly, since they have some power, they could fall to bribery.

I'm not against the principle of working 40 hours a week, at least not if we would have some sort of flexitime. As I said earlier, with kids and no family to rely upon, it's difficult/expensive to organise things.
Secondly, those 2.5 hours that I'm forced to be there longer, represents 6% of salary. Keeping in mind that my colleagues who do the same job already earn just under 45% more, it sort of brings it to the magic marker of 50%, which the other blog mentioned. I don't really care about those 6%, but I do care about the 45%. Finally, the main reason why I am against it, is because we have to work those 2.5 hours longer for the colleagues that sold us out, so they could keep their 45%, so they can keep their pensions and such. The reason I get ****ed over twice, is because everybody is looking at the salary of the oldies and are taking the opportunity to make savings accross the board, so the new colleagues pay twice.
To top it off, they are close(r) to retirement age. So the ones who are going to suffer for them not being replaced when retiring, is the generation after 2004.

I also said before, that the new generation hasn't reached the management positions yet, and they lack any significant representation in trade unions. So what is going to happen? Everybody will agree on this new reform on the condition that the pensions are not affected. Every 10 years there is a new reform and so 10 years down the line everbody will start whining that the pensions cost too much since the new officials don't make as much many, and the old rats have all retired by then. At that point they will have a go at the pensions of the post 2004 generation of course.

The only thing that I can hope, is that the life expectancy of the EU official hasn't changed by then. Currently this is 67 and my only hope that there will be enough money to pay for the pensions.

Jesper said...

If your trade union representatives aren't representing your interests, why do you elect them to represent you?

Why not hold them to account?

The irony of people within EU-institutions complaining that their trade union representatives (their elite) aren't representing the interests of the members of the trade unions :-)

Soon they'll be saying that they don't want to pay for the excesses of unaccountable elites and want to exit the union :-)

Anonymous said...

@ Jesper

I didn't elect them. I don't vote and I'm not member of a trade union.

They didn't lose anything in the 2004 reform, except maybe the levy, but some got compensations in promotions. In doing so, the burden of the reform is carried by the 2004 generation.

A new generation 2004 union was created last year and got 20% of the votes, but there is no branch yet where I work, so I may have to start my own ;)

Do you expect them to represent us, after what I did in 2004? Now they are saying we are all in the same boat and that we should all stick together, but we're not.

Compare it to the rich tax Obama is talking about. If you would compare it to the austerity measures asked here, would be like saying to implement 10% taxes on the salary of every american because the average of the salaries is high. You get what you want, but you also get the poorest.

Englishman said...

Should we feel sorry? No there are 19,000,000 unemployed in the great EU that would love a job. No one made these Eurocrats work for the EU. So it they don't like it I am sure they know where the front door is.
Any way the whole thing is, hopefully moot. With a bit of good luck the EU won't exist in a couple of years time!