Heard in Europe

The European Commission has too many Human Resources specialists, communication advisors and event organisers. At the same time, the refugee crisis and the stubborn economic slowdown show that the Commission needs more muscle to deal with these pressing issues. In order to gain an extra pair of hands in times of (post)-austerity, on 4 April, the institution adopted a 10-page plan to conquer “synergies and efficiencies”.
The bottom line of the internal document, seen by EurActiv.com, is that the executive will seek to centralise the competences of its 33 directorates-general (DGs) and 11 services in areas such as human resources, information and communication technologies, external and internal communication, logistics, events and meeting room management.
“The purpose of the measures outlined here is to launch a new, more modern organisation of coordination and support communities in the Commission, by defining their main organisational principles and specifying arrangements for their efficient working,” the internal document said.
The plan, orchestrated by the Vice-President for Human Resources, Kristalina Georgieva, will not bring job losses beyond the 5% reduction of personnel announced for 2013-2017 (or around 1,250 jobs).
The DGs must send 2% of its workforce to a common pool over these five-year period (2013-2017). Half of it will be job cuts, while the remaining 1% will serve as a buffer to reinforce the departments like DG for Economic and Financial Affairs or DG Home Affairs.
“This is not about savings, this is about redistributing, optimising the resources we have, improve our output,” a Commission official explained.

This major internal shake-up, which will affect up to 2,500 functionaries, will be implemented taking into account “the aspirations of individual staff members”, the document says.
While taking care of the eurocrats’ wishes seems a crystal-clear principle, some other parts of the document are not as straightforward:
“Rely on the functional reporting of domain managers in the DGs to the corporate domain lead service, to ensure professional alignment and efficiency, and be involved, without prejudice to the established Appointing Authority powers, by participating in the procedure for the filling of these functions, (participation in selection panels for appointment of domain managers) and by contributing to the appraisal of their performance, without however assuming the role of reporting officer,” the text says.
Explaining how to generate efficiencies inside the Commission is not always the easiest task to do.

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