The Council has confirmed, by written procedure, Coreper's decision to limit the salary increase for civil servants and contract staff of the EU institutions to 1.85%, instead of the 3.7% proposed by the European Commission. Following this confirmation, on 23 December 2009 in Brussels, the EU executive could now take the matter to the EU Court of Justice in early January, said a Commission spokesman, on 23 December.

According to the spokesman, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Vice-President for Administration Siim Kallas will, at the EU executive's first weekly meeting on 6 January, propose to bring an action for annulment. There is already a precedent in the ECJ's case law. In 1973, member states adopted a salary increase that differed from the Commission's proposal, prompting the executive to lodge a complaint. The governments ended up having to pay in that case.

Given this background, the procedure could go "very quickly" this time, continued the spokesman, who nevertheless refused to suggest a timeframe. He did say that it "won't take two years", i.e. the time left before the revision of the current rules, set for 2012. The Commission's proposal to grant a 3.7% salary increase results directly from the regulation adopted in 2004 by the member states.


The regulation sets out a method for calculating the adjustment systematically, based on the evolution of salaries in the civil service of eight member...

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