Berlaymont - CC / Flickr
Berlaymont - CC / Flickr

Oh the irony!

A Member of the European Parliament – Inge Grässle (whose name sounds rather like graisse, the French word for fat) – has had a go at the European Commission for creating its hundredth Director General post. Parliament Magazine has the story:

Gräßle likened the commission to a “self-service shop” and said the latest appointments demonstrate “a display of a remarkable shortage of insight” in the face of austerity budgets in many member states.

This is the very same European Parliament that voted in January to increase staffing allowances for MEPs by €1500 a month, above the €16000 a month they already have for staff (meaning parliamentary assistants are sometimes on €6000 a month – that’s more of a scandal than €15000 a month for a Commission DG in my mind), taking the total budget for the EP’s annual functioning to €1.6 billion.

Essentially the problem the Commission has is that many of its staff have been there too long, and have been going up the hierarchy all these years. There are too many people over-promoted as a result. They are in their golden cages, often demoralised, but with no way to shift them (else the trade union rebels too), although this is admittedly more of an issue below DG level. Then once you’re a DG you’re essentially parked at that level until you retire. So the 100th DG is not a problem in itself – it’s just a symptom of the Commission’s much deeper staffing issues.

(Last paragraph re-worked for clarification in light of comments on Twitter)


  1. Essentially the problem the Commission has is that many of its staff have been there too long….

    Damn straight.

    The whole corrupt, illiberal, unrepresentative, undemocratic, monstrous experiment in social engineering has been there too long.

  2. James Burnside

    “…and have been going up the hierarchy all these years.” The problem is rather that too many people get promoted through the grades (i.e. their pay increases), more or less automatically over time, without having to take on additional responsibility. Only a few can truly get up the hierarchy to middle management posts, and even fewer of those can get to senior management posts.

  3. I first doubted whether your argument regarding Ms Grässle would hold the facts, but even she voted in favour of the increase in allowances earlier this year:

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