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On 31 January, the European Commission approved an outline document on the future of its institutional presence in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and clearly stated its ambition to consolidate its presence there. The document emphasises that an overall agreement must be reached with the Luxembourg authorities and that any changes can only be made after consultation with staff representatives. A strike was announced in Luxembourg in the morning the document was approved and was followed by 40% of staff according to the Directorate-General for Administration and 65-70% according to the trade unions. The outline document proposes to study how to create large, coherent and stable departments in Luxembourg and transfer smaller units back to Brussels. It makes a clear and unequivocal link between the two processes and emphasises the logistical and organisational advantages which the site of Luxembourg could have for a substantial new European Agency.--Since 1953, Luxembourg has been the historical headquarters of the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community, and when the ECSC and Commission services were merged, in 1965, Luxembourg retained 35 units, which are still based in the country. Some services have gone on to great things, such as the Office for Official Publications or Eurostat, but the transfer of other units, belonging to a whole variety of Directorates-General is causing operating problems, according to Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock. Adopted by the Commission in July 2000, the Peer Group report on human resources called for an administrative restructuring programme. The Commission's 31 January Communication does not call for any dismantling of the Community units in Luxembourg. Even though the Commission has been reducing...

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