This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar

The EU Council’s right to initiative? – Less pay for EU officials requested

Everyone studying the European Union knows that it’s the Commission that proposes legislation. However, this doesn’t say the Commission is always at the origin of such proposals.

The Lisbon Treaty for example grants the Council the right to request, with a simple majority, from the Commission “any studies the Council considers desirable for the attainment of the common objectives” (Article 241 TFEU; ex-Article 208 TEC).

The Council now uses this right to ask the European Commission that it makes a new proposal for the pay of EU officials that reflects “the economic and social situation in autumn 2011“:

The Council is convinced that the financial and economic crisis currently taking place within the EU and resulting in substantial fiscal adjustments in most Member States constitutes a serious and sudden deterioration of the economic and social situation within the EU.” (doc. 16281/11)

Based on this assessment, the Council wants the Commission to use the exception clause in Annex XI of the EU staff regulations to lower EU officials’ pay or to prevent any [significant?] further raise in salary. It doesn’t say so explicitly, but it’s almost obvious from the text.

The Council thereby also implicitly attacks the EU Commission which in a report on the exception clause in Annex XI it presented in July 2011 still concluded (my highlights):

The Commission has used 15 indicators to assess whether it is necessary to use the exception clause in 2011. […] [T]hey show that the economic recovery in the EU continues to make headway. [sic!]

The report concludes that there has been no serious and sudden deterioration in the economic and social situation within the Union during the reference period of 1 July 2010 to mid-May 2011, and that it is not appropriate to submit a proposal under Article 10 of Annex XI to the Staff Regulations.

It seems like the Council is contesting the Commission’s pre-summer break view that economic recovery in the EU continues to make headway. And it uses an article from the Lisbon Treaty to push the Commission to acknowledge this by putting forward a new proposal regarding the payment of EU officials in the future.
For me this looks like the Council is making use of an implicit right to initiative here – and I wonder what arguments the Commission will put forward in reaction…


Comments are closed.

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.