The "Fonctionnaire" (Part 1)

This is now the beginning of a long serie of posts on the "Fonctionnaire" or Officials (the proper English term).

The Fonctionnaire is a civil servant of the European Institutions who has successfully passed a "concours".

According to Wikipedia:
"Policy makers are divided into a set of grades: from AD 5, the most junior administrator grade, to AD 16, which is a director-general (AD = administrator). Below the AD category is AST (assistant). [...] EU civil servants work 37.5 hours a week, though they are theoretically available 24/7. They receive a minimum of 24 days of leave a year (maximum of 30), with additional leave on grounds of age, grade and distance from home country. The lowest grades receive between €2,325.33 and €2,630.96 each month, while the highest grade receives between €14,822.86 and €16,094,79 a month."

Among other, Fonctionnaires, like other type of employees of the European Institutions, have reduced income tax rates, 16% premium if they are not Belgium, the right to buy furniture and a car VAT-free for a year, free tuition for children at European Schools, family allowances, yearly travel to their country of origin and generous social security and pensions.

So on top of a nice salary, lot of benefits which make the position particularly attractive.

It is not unusual for a 50 year old Fonctionnaire of grade AD to have net stipend of €10,000 per month.

Oh something you should not forget: they cannot be fired! Literally. Unless of course they steal some money (but some have managed to stay even with grafting) or murder somebody.

I believe the Fonctionnaire Status was inherited from the French Tradition of Civil Service when the European Institutions were set up. This would explain a lot of the articles in the Status. Basically the Status (you can find it here) is the Deuteronomy of Fonctionnaires.

This "Can't-get-fired" clause is quite an interesting one as it has create a very special dynamic in the administration.

With such salaries and job security, you would believe that every Fonctionnaire is a happy one. Not really. I would say that there is a high level of frustration, that have even pushed some colleagues towards suicide (that serious). So in latter posts, I will blog about the daily life of a Fonctionnaire, his career expectations, his management perspective, his relation with contract agents (and other temporary staff), his trouble relation with young and attractive female stagiaires...

1 comment:

  1. just a small correction:

    "the right to buy furniture and a car VAT-free for a year"

    this is not a right that's guaranteed by the institutions, but a gift of the host country (in your case belgium) to the officials (and i think in general to all employees of international institutions (like NATO, NAMSA, UN agencies, ...)).