This newly launched European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) calls for the introduction of an Erasmus-like exchange programme for civil servants in the EU to experience work life in a different member state.
Written by Sophia Stille // 05.11.2021
About the Civil Servants Programme
Many study programmes and universities make it possible to participate in an Erasmus exchange in another European country to experience (student) life and get to know a new city. Students receive a monthly grant from the European Union in order to sustain themselves during their stay abroad. This is, however, not possible for students who are studying to become civil servants or who have already started working as such. This European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) proposes a similar programme for civil servants, which would be a voluntary exchange between 2 and 12 months in another EU member state. The goal would be for participants to learn how their work is done in another country and to possibly strengthen their foreign language skills.
The civil service
The civil service is one of the biggest employment sectors in the EU member states, however, there are few possibilities to gain international work experience. The organisers of the initiative are students and future civil servants and therefore want to change this. As most of them experienced an Erasmus exchange themselves, they believe that exchanges should not stop once the studies are over since life-long learning is important for professional and individual development. As the work tasks are pretty similar in many civil sector jobs it can be very fruitful and insightful to get to know how they are carried out in other countries.
The ECI mechanism was created to make it possible for citizens to get involved in EU policy-making. For an initiative to be successful, the organisers need to collect 1 million signatures from citizens of at least 7 different EU countries. If this is the case, the European Commission needs to consider the claims and present an answer.
A civil servant exchange programme
More concretely, the civil servant programme would strengthen the free movement of workers by making it possible for more professionals to experience work life abroad. This could help to establish an exchange of best practices to make the civil service sector more effective in the whole EU. Furthermore, it would encourage civil servants to learn a language of another member state.
According to the Publications Office of the EU, “Erasmus+ mobility has positive effects on educational, social, personal and professional development, in that it enhances knowledge, skills and attitudes, improves employability, helps confidence-building and independence, stimulates curiosity and innovation, fosters the understanding of other people, and builds a sense of European belonging.” Only in 2019 there were around 940.000 people who studied, trained or volunteered abroad in 111.000 organisations and 25.000 projects. By broadening the programme, even more students and professionals could get the opportunity to gain experience abroad.
How to support the initiative
If you think that civil servants should get the opportunity to go on exchange as well, there are several ways how you can support the initiative:
- Sign the ECI here in order to bring the organisers one step closer to the required 1 Million signatures!
- Share the ECI on your social media and with friends and family!
- Check the organisers’ website and Our Only Home’s website in order to stay up-to-date!
- European Commission: The Initiative
- European Commission: Erasmus+ Fact sheets
- Publications Office of the European Union
- Website of the Initiative