Open letter to President Metsola on European Parliament staff issues

Dear President, 

Dear Roberta,

I decided to write this open letter to you, knowing your commitment to the integrity and dignity of our institution. I write with great concern, as I feel that some of that dignity is already lost, as it has become known that a deal on high-level posts has been made by a majority representing several political groups.

The European Parliament is a world-class institution representing nearly 450 million people. It is vital that it applies the best administrative practices based on the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability. Those principles should guide the forthcoming appointment of the highest civil servant, the secretary-general, and it should not be tied to other appointments. Parliament, by nature, is a political house. However, as politics change, from elections to elections, the secretary-general should be able to perform his or her function in the best interest of the institution as a whole.

One can sense, at this moment, a kind of a ”revolution of dignity” among the personnel. It calls for fair procedures for the highest recruitments and a real choice between several qualified candidates, based on their proven skills and experience in management in the European Parliament. It goes against this spirit that new structures would be created simply to secure the majority for a large package between political groups. 

The decision to establish a new directorate general for parliamentary partnerships was taken in haste and without a proper impact assessment. That is why some of us wanted to at least take more time to consider it. After the decision has become known, the surprised reactions confirm the lack of coherence with the Parliament’s existing structures and activities. No other options were offered to satisfy the needs presented, e.g. establishing a new directorate within DG EXPO that deals with the many aspects of the Parliament’s external relations.

Likewise, it would be detrimental and against good administrative behaviour if other elements like the acquisition of a new building in Strasbourg would be tied to the package. I hope indeed that this is not the case.

Dear President, I commend your wish to move towards more pluralism in our House, also involving the smaller political groups in the highest positions in the administration. The way things have now unfolded does not cherish what I believe was and should continue to be your vision and your leadership.

It is not too late to take a step back and see how we can best use the momentum to improve ethical standards in our institution.

Yours respectfully,

Heidi Hautala