Participation of UK Members of the Commission Staff to internal competitions
During the United Kingdom’s exit process from the E.U., the Commission, especially by the then Commissioner in charge of Administration and Personnel, Gunther Oettinger, repeatedly stated that British staff could rely on the fact that their acquired rights and legitimate expectations would be upheld. It should be acknowledged that both the Juncker and Von der Leyen Commissions have indeed delivered on their commitments and that British colleagues have safeguarded their rights and expectations.
There is however one aspect on which British colleagues (those with no nationality other than that of the UK) feel let down: the internal competitions that will be announced in the near future. In fact, our colleagues have been informed, albeit informally, that competitions will be open only to nationals of Member States, in accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of the Staff Regulations. There would be no exception for those who, having entered the service of the Institution on the basis of UK citizenship, have a legitimate aspiration to try the internal competitions route in order to get a permanent job and/or for career advancement. This is posing the question of the participation of UK members of the Commission Staff to internal competitions.
They are fully aware that Article 28 of Staff Regulations provides that appointment as an official is restricted to nationals of one of the Member States. However, they believe, and so do we, that, in case of Internal competitions, the move to a new category/grade should not be considered as “appointment” but rather as “promotion” or “career advancement”. Moreover, Article 28 itself offers the possibility for the “AIPN” to decide on exceptions to the nationality requirement.
It is also worth noting that Article 29 of the Staff Regulations gives a definition of internal competition which could lend itself, if there is a political will, to a broad interpretation in the sense that all the staff of the institution, regardless of the possession of the nationality requirement, could take part in it. In other words, if the Institution, out of an obvious sense of justice and in deference to commitments openly made, has kept those colleagues among its staff, regardless of the possession of the nationality requirement, it would be difficult to understand how they could be excluded from participating in internal competitions.