The European Union is tightening its belt, and staff — including those working in international development — will bear some of the brunt. The question is how and when.
In December 2011, the European Commission proposed a reform of its staff regulations that would shrink personnel, increase working hours and delay the retirement age, among other things. Put together, the changes would save the commission an estimated €1 billion (nearly $1.3 billion in current rates) by 2020, on top of the €8 billion resulting from reforms passed in 2004.
The commission hopes to see the new staff policy take effect in January 2013. But that is in jeopardy as member states seek more staff sacrifices, prompting protests from trade unions.
The reform at a standstill
With the European Parliament on board, the ball is now in the European Council’s court.
Elena Pasquini covers the development work of the European Union as well as various U.N. food and agricultural agencies for Devex News. Based in Rome, she also reports on Italy's aid reforms and attends the European Development Days and other events across Europe. She has interviewed top international development officials, including European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs. Elena has contributed to Italian and international magazines, newspapers and news portals since 1995.