Select Committee on European Scrutiny Thirty-Sixth Report


The European Scrutiny Committee has agreed to the following Report:—






COM (02) 311

Commission Communication: Activities and Human Resources of the Commission in the Enlarged European Union.

Legal base:


Document originated:

5 June 2002

Deposited in Parliament:

13 June 2002


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Basis of consideration:

EM of 2 July 2002

Previous Committee Report:


To be discussed in Council:

No date set

Committee's assessment:

Politically important

Committee's decision:

For debate in European Standing Committee B; further information requested


The Commission Communication

    1. The Commission identifies the changes that enlargement will make to its activities and the additional human resources required to meet these changes. It outlines the effects on human resources, by groups of policy areas and by job profile ('métier'). The underlying analysis and related estimates are intended as a building block for future recruitment strategy, for negotiations on the adaptation of Financial Perspectives for the enlarged Union, and the general framework for future Annual Policy Strategy cycles and Preliminary Draft Budgets.
    2. The Commission recognises that the calculations are made on the basis of hypothesis and estimation, and will therefore require fine-tuning in each Preliminary Draft Budget, following the Annual Policy Strategy of the Commission.
    3. The scale of the proposed enlargement faces the European Union with an unprecedented challenge. It will be necessary to ensure that the Community institutions operate effectively in an enlarged Union. As far as the Commission is concerned, it sees itself facing the twin challenge of ensuring that "the European project of political economic and social integration can continue harmoniously and that all Union citizens derive all potential benefit from enlargement".
    4. Following enlargement, the Commission expects its major economic and social responsibilities to be:

    • to manage programmes designed to support the new Member States under the common agricultural policy, structural operations and the internal policies of the Union;

    • the Lisbon strategy;

    • the sustainable development and environmental agendas; and

    • European governance.

    1. To ensure that the Community acquis is properly applied, the Commission proposes to:

    • maintain a permanent dialogue with the new Member States to identify and analyse problems encountered and provide the most appropriate solutions;

    • wherever necessary, initiate and pursue infringement proceedings; and

    • where necessary, propose and then implement new Community co-operation measures to provide the new Member States with the support necessary so that they will have the means to comply with their obligations under the Treaties.

    1. Describing itself as the executive body and driving force in the EU, the Commission anticipates that it will need to enhance its capacity to support the new Member States. It says that although the radical political, economic and social changes made by the candidate countries are bearing fruit, their prosperity still trails far behind that of the fifteen Member States. Its assessment of the impact of enlargement upon human resources is based on three assumptions:

    • up to 10 countries, with up to ten new official languages, will join the European Union as of 1 January 2004;

    • the policies, programmes and delivery systems of the European Union will remain the same; and

    • no unforeseen change will be made to the 2002 staffing levels.

    1. The new staffing arrangements will begin in 2003 and be completed by 2008. The Commission says that its estimates of additional staffing needs based on 10 new Member States do not prejudice the date of accession of the remaining candidate countries. They are based on "cruising speed" and not on the gradual phasing in or out of activities or tasks, or of one-off set up costs. Cruising speed will be reached at different points in time depending upon the activity and should be reached in all areas around 2008, taking into account the institution's ability to absorb new staff.
    2. For the purposes of estimating future human resource requirements, the Commission says that it classified about 200 activities. For each of these it identified human resource 'drivers'. These are essentially attributes applied to each resource, such as the budget to be managed and the population that would be affected.
    3. Based on an initial questionnaire, the Commission undertook a review of the expected changes to the activities of each department after enlargement. Following analysis of the responses, bilateral discussions were held with each Commission department to validate the information gathered. The resulting assessment forms the basis of the Commission's proposal.
    4. Estimates from the Commission departments were screened to ensure consistency, to clarify misunderstandings and to account for economies of scale. Special attention was paid to the additional linguistic requirements essential to the effective operation of the Institutions both in the preparations for enlargement and after enlargement.
    5. The Commission proposal presents estimated resource[1] requirements categorised both in terms of 'activities' (broad policy groupings) and 'métiers' (work profiles). The unit of measure is one Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) person. The activities reflect the headings of the current Financial Perspectives and are set out in the Communication.
    6. Job Profiles (métiers) describe the type of work that will be affected by enlargement:

"—  human resources and budgetary management;

    • law making, monitoring and ensuring compliance of the acquis 'law enforcement';

    • linguistic (translation/interpretation/publication); and

    • policy making and co-ordination".

    1. Following screening of initial estimates to take into account the implementation of best practices across the board, and discounting demands not directly related to enlargement, the Commission estimates additional staffing needs as follows:

      Policy grouping

      Estimated additional needs

      (full-time equivalent staff)

      Rapid change in number of full-time equivalent staff (%)

      Internal policies



      Linguistic services



      Support services and co-ordination



      Structural and cohesion actions



      Agriculture and fisheries






      External policies




      - 759

      - 70

      Grand Total



      Budgetary implications for Heading 5 (administration)

    3. The inter-institutional agreement envisaged a gradual increase in the ceiling for additional administrative expenditure up to _450 million at 1999 prices two years after the accession of six new Member States. With accession now expected in 2004 rather than 2002, this has effectively displaced the costs by two years.
    4. The additional administrative expenditure related to the possible accession of the four further Member States is calculated on a pro rata basis, using the number of votes the new Member States would obtain in the EU qualified majority voting process.
    5. The Common Financial Framework 2004-2006 for a Union of 25 Member States implies additional appropriations in Heading 5 that allow the financing of up to 2,300 additional posts. These additional appropriations are compatible with a phasing-in period for the new posts up to the end of 2006. The Commission and other Institutions expect that further posts will be phased in by 2008. However any addition to establishment plans will need to be compatible with agreed expenditure ceilings.
    6. Human resources needs of the Commission in context

    7. The Commission compares its estimate of 13% with those of the other Institutions as follows:

    • European Parliament: in early 2001, the EP estimated that it would require an additional 1240 new posts (+29%), reduced subsequently to 842 (+20%) as posts are released through natural wastage and through early and special retirement measures;

    • Council Secretariat: in March 2002, the Secretariat estimated its additional staffing needs at 674, corresponding to 25% of current staff;

    • the Court of Justice and the Tribunal of First Instance have had their additional staffing needs estimated at 608 and 221 respectively, which represents an increase of 56%.

The Government's view

    1. The Minister for Europe (Mr Peter Hain) comments:
    2. "The Government supports the Commission's proposals to meet the need for additional staffing after enlargement. We are encouraged to see that the Commission has made real and timely progress in this exercise, and has recognised both that staffing requirements will be made during 2003, and that due attention will need to be paid to the likely heavy burden placed on Linguistic services. We consider the estimate of a further 3900 staff (a 13% increase) to be realistic, and we welcome the commitment by the Commission to consider reassessment prior to each preliminary draft budget.

      "The Government reiterates the importance of keeping to the financial agreement reached at Berlin as well as to the timetable for enlargement agreed at Gothenburg and Laeken. The UK will work to ensure the necessary human resources are made available to make enlargement a success — but believe this is achievable within the agreed ceilings."


    3. The Commission estimates that, by 2008, it will need about 3900 additional (Full-Time Equivalent) staff, filling 3400 additional establishment posts. This represents 13% of existing available human resources[2] and 16% of posts. The Common Financial Framework 2004-2006 for the Accession Negotiations[3] allows for the financing, under Heading 5 of the Budget, of up to 2,300 additional posts, to be phased in during the period 2004-2006. The remaining posts, and additional outside personnel that may be required, would be phased in during 2007 and 2008.
    4. The Commission says that, as the full estimates of the needs of the other Institutions are not yet available, the ceiling of Heading 5 in 2006 will have to be re-assessed in the light of actual needs, and of whatever room there is for manoeuvre within the overall ceiling of the current financial perspectives at the time of the assessment. It says that the extra 3900 staff are the absolute minimum necessary for the Commission to carry out its tasks properly.
    5. We are concerned by the size of the proposed increase in staff. For instance, comparing the proposed increases under the different policy groupings, we note in particular the large increase in percentage terms proposed for implementing structural and cohesion policies. It is important to know in more detail how the Commission arrived at these figures and whether it has made provision in them for any additional areas of activity or tasks which it wishes to undertake but which are not strictly associated with enlargement.
    6. We recommend that the document be debated in European Standing Committee B so that these and other issues raised by the document may be put to the Minister. Meanwhile, we ask the Government to provide us with more detailed information on how the other EU Institutions have arrived at their estimates of their needs.


1  The Commission says that, for the sake of simplicity, it defines human resources as the existing mix of posts and outside personnel. This is the definition used in the 2002 Budget. Back

2  See footnote 1 above. Back

3  (23133) 5745/02; see HC 152-xx (2001-02), paragraph 5 (6 March 2002) and Official Report, European Standing Committee B (18 March 2002). Back

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