The Civil Servant Exchange Program ECI Team calls on the Commission to launch an exchange and training programme between civil servants of EU countries
If the current pandemic has taught us one thing, it is that we, the citizens of the European Union, are stronger when we are united and when we work together. Also, Member States are far more efficient when they learn from each other and when they share their experiences with each other. Such an exchange requires a certain amount of mutual trust and cannot be done without including the 30 million civil servants who work for our common interest: the general interest of European citizens. We as citizens can assist in this matter by helping the civil servants, the backbone of our Member States, to learn and share their experiences. How? By supporting the creation of a “Civil Servant Exchange Program” through a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI).
What is a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)?
First, a brief introduction is necessary to explain what an ECI is in general. An ECI provides European citizens with the opportunity to be heard by the European Commission and to participate directly in the decision-making at EU level. Citizens have a voice to suggest an idea or a project that should be implemented in the European Union. This requires a group of citizens throughout Europe to propose an initiative and collect one million signatures within one year, after which the Commission will then hopefully agree to adopt it.
Our group of European citizens is composed of 9 people, coming from 7 different Member States. As European students, we believe that exchanges should not stop once studies come to an end. We deeply believe that the European Union is at first a Union of people, before being a Union of States. Therefore, we have proposed an ECI that aims to create an exchange programme for civil servants.
Civil Servant Exchange Program
This “Erasmus for civil servants” intends to launch a Europe-wide scheme that offers civil servants from the EU a professional experience in another Member State. This voluntary exchange will take place in a similar service for a period of 2 to 12 months so that that the participants can observe and learn how their work is done in another Member State. In order to avoid any disparity between civil servants in terms of remuneration they should continue to receive their salaries from their country of origin. In case the salary of the participant is lower than what a civil servant in a comparable position receives in the host Member State a European fund should be created to compensate for the difference.
This program will allow civil servants from all over Europe to develop a constant exchange of know-how with each other: a Swedish firefighter could learn how Spanish firefighters deal with forest fires; Bulgarian nurses could explain to a German nurse how they treat patients and what medical practices they perform; a Danish teacher could learn the teaching methods of Czech professors; French anti-corruption officers could share their working methods with a Portuguese officer; etc. This exchange will enable civil servants to meet other officials working in the same field as them and create a culture of exchanging, developing and growing good practices together.
The development and the spread of good practices are crucial as civil servants will be able to use the practices learned during their exchange back in their Member State of origin. These practices may include new forms of administrative or healthcare practices, a particular teaching method, new ways of treating patients, taking care of the public, etc. All these good practices will gradually spread as the exchanges take place and will naturally be selected by those who are most competent in the field and who aim to put the interest of the citizens at the centre of their work: civil servants.
They are at the heart of Member States and we deeply believe that such exchanges will strengthen both the cooperation between European citizens and between Member States. It will enhance the efficiency in the public sector in the spirit of governments of the people, by the people, for the people.
We have much to learn from each other.
Are you also convinced of this idea and would like to put it into practice? You can contribute to this initiative with your signature to reach the minimum number of one million supporters. The collection period will be open from October 2021.
Civil Servant Exchange Program (CSEP) European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Team: Francesco Bordone, Amandine Deswert, Johan Goncalves Procek, Madalina Ionescu, Angelica Mastro, Adam Mazoyer, Kristina Music, Petra Pospisilova, Paulo Roquete Vitorino. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on the Civil Servant Exchange Program was presented during the “ECI Day 2021” at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on 3 June 2021 – www.eesc.europa.eu/en/agenda/our-events/events/eci-day-2021
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