POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Lux to lose EU food safety institution next year



The tasks currently handled by the European Commission’s Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency in Luxembourg will be redistributed to a new Brussels-based organisation in the new year Shutterstock

The tasks currently handled by the European Commission’s Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency in Luxembourg will be redistributed to a new Brussels-based organisation in the new year Shutterstock

The functions of a Luxembourg-based EU agency will be shifted to Brussels starting on 1 January 2021.

The Union Syndicale Fédérale Luxembourg, the union representing staff at the agency, which is known by the acronym Chafea, warned last month that 80 jobs were at stake.

The move followed a shake-up of EU priorities, Balazs Ujvari, a European Commission spokesman, said last week. But Ujvari implied that overall European institution employment in Luxembourg could rise.

According to Ujvari, the EU “has re-aligned the mandates of the executive agencies for the period 2021-27 to come into line with” the fresh priorities of the Ursula von der Leyen commission. During a press conference, Ujvari stated:

“The new approach envisages the creation of a new innovation agency and a reassignment of projects previously managed by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency, which will not continue in that format. There will be other task transfers to Brussels-based agencies…”

The Chafea shift was needed to improve coordination and find possible “synergies”. The commission spokesman said:

“Firstly, this is not a decision that has been taken lightly, of course not. Please don’t read this as a reduced commitment in terms of the commission’s commitment to staff in Luxembourg. There are a number of factors that would argue in favour of the transfer of tasks for this particular field to Brussels. The commission has stressed the geographical proximity of the agency would be vital if we’re to have closer cooperation between the executive agency and the directors-general, who are responsible for delegating the tasks.”

Then Ujvari stated:

“The commission will continue to contribute to an enhanced staff presence in Luxembourg in other sectors. And there I’m particularly thinking of the financial, legal and digital sectors.”

Most staff will be granted transfers, although a few may be made redundant. Ujvari said staff members:

“… will be encouraged to transfer to Brussels, and carry on carrying out those tasks. Otherwise the directorate general will help them find another job in Luxembourg. Or they will receive unemployment benefits, depending on their contract.”

The European Commission spokesperson made the comments during a press conference in Brussels on 30 April.

Delano asked the Union Syndicale Fédérale Luxembourg for comment.