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EU - important message from the EU sector negotiating delegation, January 2009

European Commission and the flat-rate accommodation allowance The Negotiating Delegation has been pursuing the matter since SCIC published its notice on SCICnet on 19th December  2008 and is continuing to make representations to try and obtain more than the temporary waiver already secured. 

As several colleagues have asked for clarifications, we would like to point out that:

1. The flat-rate accommodation allowance has never been part of the Agreement.  What the Agreement stipulates, in Article 9, is that ACIs "...shall receive an allowance equal to the daily subsistence allowance of officials of the institutions by which they are engaged. ACIs may, on presentation of a hotel bill, have hotel expenses reimbursed up to the ceiling laid down for such officials."

2. The flat-rate accommodation allowance was introduced when a new Missions Guide came into force on 1st May 2004, as an allowance paid for accommodation when no hotel invoice was submitted.

3. At the request of the Court of Auditors, the Commission, as an institution, agreed to eliminate this flat-rate allowance and the staff representative organisations in the Commission have accepted this: the new system now applies to all Commission staff.  To the Court of Auditors, what matters is not whether what they have requested works out more expensively for the institution; it is the audit trail and the elimination of a flat-rate allowance that matters.

But your Delegation is still on the case!

Recommended citation format:
European Union Negotiating Delegation. "EU - important message from the EU sector negotiating delegation, January 2009". January 23, 2009. Accessed May 27, 2020. <>.

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I won't comment the constant changes that are made to different parts and non parts of the Convention but I must say I was quite puzzled (and suprised) by what is stated in point 3 of the message: that the Court of Auditors doesn't really care whether we (and others) become more expensive or not and that they "only" want to guarantee the audit trail (whatever that might be) and eliminate "a flat-rate allowance". Why?

I thought that the main reason for all the changes that we have been asked/pushed to accept in the past years was that they wanted to cut costs! If that is not the purpose then what?

The main consequence of that change will just be that hotels will be even more crowded and, as they seem to have realized, the cost will go up even more. (But then, of course, they can complain more easily about how expensive interpreters are...)

After several years of various measures imposed by the Court of Auditors, I can't help but feel that they still haven't quite understood what interpreters actually do and, worse, they don't want to know, they just want to treat everybody the same way.

Soon I'll give up trying to understand all this and just get on with my work as an interpreter and hope for the best, i.e. that I don't violate any of the numerous and changing rules that govern our lives!

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