Luxembourg, 27 June 2016
Union Syndicale Luxembourg (USL) deeply regrets the recent UK vote to leave the European Union, and this in particular as a majority of highly qualified young people voted in favour of Bremain, as well as voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Also, UK citizens themselves will suffer more than all others from the economic, social and cultural consequences of this unprecedented step.
Should this previously unimaginable event mark the turning point in the history of the European project, in the light of all the important historic achievements and the full potential of the future European unification process?
Concerning our British colleagues, we welcome the clarifying and encouraging message of President Juncker (see here). USL will insist on participating in the negotiations with the Appointing Authority in order to preserve the rights of our British colleagues and pensioners in terms of employment, residence, citizenship, pensions and all other important issues.
We will keep you posted on all new substantial developments!
Mrs Georgieva, Vice-President, met Staff representatives
Upon request of the Alliance, amongst others, Vice-President Georgieva already met the OSP-CP on Friday 24 June, to inform them about a first analysis, the foreseeable consequences and the immediate measures intended by the European Commission, further to the decision of the British citizens to leave the European Union.
She wished to express the current deep feeling of sadness within the Commission that now has to face a very serious situation. Nevertheless, she stressed that the European project would go on: the history of the last 50 years showing its countless gains and achievements as to economics, social rights and peace preservation.
The Commission clearly confirms its willingness and determination to sustain the European Union growth and recovery.
At world level, it seems obvious that, by virtue of its size and economic weight, the European Union has more opportunities to play a significant role and has a greater influence than each single Member state would have.
As to the UK citizens, officials of the European Institutions, Vice-President Georgieva recalled the terms of the message that the President of the Commission sent them on the same day : « they are EU agents and Brexit does not imply that the door would close on them; the Commission will work together with the other European Institutions to ensure their stability and continue counting on their outstanding talent, experience and commitment. To summarize: same rights and obligations for all officials of the European Union ».
Vice-President Georgieva also informed the OSP-CP of the holding of an extraordinary European Council on Tuesday 28 June. She said that, based on the Conclusions that would come out of this Council, the Commission would immediately launch a “deep assessment” on “where we are and where we are going”, and that the next months would be de facto a very complicated period.
Pending the UK Notification to leave the European Union, which will activate the negotiation of the withdrawal Agreement in accordance with Art. 50 of the EU Treaty, the Commission will draw up a specific political agenda including the structural aspects that should result from it, as to organization and functioning.
Transitory measures are not excluded, if we consider that withdrawal negotiations can last up to 2 years (cf. EU Treaty), even longer.
Though they admit Vice President Georgieva promptly met the OSP, already the day after the Brexit referendum, the Alliance pleaded for:
- the need for a social dialogue frame, Brexit-oriented, on a long term in view in particular of safeguarding colleagues’ acquired rights and legitimate expectations;
- the importance to learn from the Brexit in terms of communication to the European citizen;
- a re-invigorated defence of the gains and achievements of the European Union in the political, economic, social and cultural fields;
- the implementation of an organizational and functioning stable framework – that would not be rejected by the staff – as a necessary measure anticipating the consequences of the Brexit on the structure of our Institution.
Considering its strong interinstutional and “multi-area” presence, that gives it some special responsibility, the Alliance will ensure that proper and strict respect is given to the general interest of the European public function, autonomous, competent and independent, as a key instrument of the achievement process of to the European project.
Jean-Claude JUNCKER - Message to staff
24 June 2016
Yesterday, the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This result makes me personally very sad – but I respect their choice.
I know that many of you are concerned about your future after this vote. I fully understand that. So I want to send a clear message to you, colleagues, and especially to colleagues of British nationality.
According to our Staff Regulations, you are "Union officials". You work for Europe. You left your national 'hats' at the door when you joined this institution and that door is not closing on you now. As European civil servants you have always been loyal to our Union, contributing tremendously to our common European project. And so it will be in this spirit of reciprocal loyalty that I will work together with the Presidents of the other European institutions to ensure that we can all continue counting on your outstanding talent, experience and commitment. I know you all have legitimate expectations about your rights and duties, your families who might have followed you to Brussels and your children who might be enrolled in schools here.
Let me assure you that I will do everything in my power as President of the Commission, to support and help you in this difficult process. Our Staff Regulations will be read and applied in a European spirit.
In the coming days and weeks, you will all have the opportunity to show the European Commission at its best. The eyes of the world will be upon us, expecting us to provide stability, act decisively and uphold Europe's values. I have every confidence in you. Together we will rise to that task.