The 2014 staff reforms package has been successful in achieving significant savings, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. But the auditors also identified a mixed impact on staff and additional challenges for human resources management. Some of the negative consequences could have been mitigated, at least in part, if the reforms had been better prepared and monitored, say the auditors.
During the negotiations for the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF), the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on different measures to reduce expenditure on staff and improve human resources management. This “2014 staff reforms package” included a 5 % cut in workforce, pay and pension freezes, as well as a revision of the staff regulations.
The auditors assessed the effectiveness of these measures, with a specific focus on the European Commission, as it accounts for 53 % of the EU institutions’ workforce and for 58 % of their payroll budget. In particular, they examined how the challenge of achieving the dual objective of budgetary savings and HR improvements has been managed.
“Savings generated from the 2014 staff reforms go beyond expectations, but they are overshadowed by their impact on the workforce”, said Pietro Russo, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “The HR implications of the cost-saving measures were not without negative consequences for both working conditions and the attractiveness of the EU institutions as an employer.”