Golden Expat Allowance – Welcome to the European Commission

Not to anger all those very good people working in the European Commission- but I think giving expat allowance is simply ridiculous. From what I understand, and perhaps i’m wrong, people are paid expat allowance of a minimum of 400 or so euros. From what I also understand, is that the employees are entitled to this allowance for the duration of their employment so long as they haven’t lived in Belgium the last 2 years before being hired.

My problem is the following:

1) Belgians don’t get it, and they are the ONLY EU citizens not to……

2) How long is someone considered an expat for? After a year you’re supposed to be part of the community… Not technically an expat anymore…

3) If someone decides to leave their country to go take a job- it’s their problem. Why should they be rewarded extra for it, it’s supply and demand. There’s no shortage of employees in Europe… Only jobs.

4) With all the other benefits which are included, private companies don’t have much opportunity to avoid this internal “Brain drain”. Private company employees not working for google, or microsoft, or another huge corporation are all semi-temporary, awaiting their exam results from the Commission… and then their call to start.

5) All of this money comes from the EU taxpayers’ pockets… Mind you, the employees of the Commission don’t really pay much taxes do they…

Now I understand that it’s very easy for anyone working in the Commission to not like this post, and I’m sorry… But the greater good of 450 million is more important than the good of a few thousands… or tens of thousands…

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3 Responses

  1. I agree with you that the financial benefits for low-to-mid-level jobs in the European Commission are too big. I don’t think they are for high-level jobs. What I would like to add:

    The entry level salaries in the Commission have been considerably lowered. If you include contract agents then the salaries start at 1500 gross, not really great or unfair compared to the private sector.

    The biggest incentive of EU civil servants is the life-long employment guarantee. I know it exists also at national level and it has it sense. But it does so little correspond to private sector companies nowadays that the gap between civil servant and normal employee status is really huge.

    The move towards the use of contract agents is good. However, the use of interimaires in the Commission is still high (often these are not counted as they do not fall into the head-count being provided via a service contract).

    My view is that:
    – everyone working in another EU country should get a sort of expat premium. More for the first year, less for the remaining 2 years
    – everyone should get the same re-imbursement rate for medical care
    – and of course there should be a European minimum wage of say 600 to 1000 euros, depending on the country.

  2. Well as regards the high-level jobs, I think that we have to compare this to the national levels. It’s not often you see civil servants with a +7-8- or 10,000 euro salary (net) when you look at what is now the EU 27.

    And the perks alone are very significant (and not only for the high-end jobs)!

    Now looking at a European minimum wage is another matter that would be really worth looking into…

    Maybe another post sometime soon!

  3. Just saw this – to point out an inaccuracy. It is not only Belgians who don’t get the expat allowance. Many of my non-Belgian friends who joined the Commission from jobs elsewhere in Brussels didn’t get it. And when I moved back to London I lost it.

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