2020 promotion exercise

2020 promotion exercise

some observations

Congratulations to all colleagues who were promoted this year!


Special congratulations go to our AST-SC colleagues, a category of staff that were given promotion quotas for the first time this year, well done.


A promotion is a formal recognition of efforts made and consistent hard work, so well deserved. However, not all colleagues that feel that they would have deserved a promotion got it…. As a result, 1,122 colleagues (584 ADs, 450 ASTs and 88 AST/SCs) filed an appeal because their names were not on the draft promotion list published in June.


Every year the formal promotion procedure starts in April and ends in November. However, a promotion – this must be bear in mind- is something to work for every day. It is not so much a right as a reasonable expectation, rewarding merits in the course of a career.

While it is true that the Appraisals (CDRs) and promotion exercises are formally separate, what appears in your self-assessment and the dialogue with your reporting officer are essential to determine if you deserve a promotion. The CDRs since your last promotion or date of recruitment are the basis for the analysis of your complaint against not being on the draft promotion list.

Hence the importance of explicit laudatory comments on your performance, since merits is one of the three elements recognised in the Staff Regulations as the basis for promotions. The other two are the use of languages and the level of responsibilities that you have.


Although the quality of CDR reports is steadily improving, there is still a lot to be done to ensure reports are more objective and meaningful. We hereby call on the Administration to continue the training of reporting officers so that colleagues’ merits can be fairly compared.

It is important to remember that filing an appeal doesn’t automatically guarantee a promotion. Only the equivalent of 5% of promotable colleagues can be added to the draft promotion list. Similar to previous years, in 2020, this was roughly one out of four complainants in AD and AST categories and one in 10 in AST/SC.

This year has seen a substantial increase in the number of complaints by colleagues that have been in a given grade for two years or less. Merits are duly compared for all, but a promotion after the minimum time in the grade is not automatic and should therefore not be taken for granted. With very limited chances of success, filing a complaint when reaching the minimum time in the grade should not be taken lightly.

If you consider that you deserve a promotion, file an appeal by all means! TAO-AFI is always at disposal to provide with an assistance.

Members of the Joint Promotion Committee (appointed by both the administration and by the Staff Committee) will look into it carefully and see what they can do for you. This task is not easy given the general good proficiency level of the staff. The Committee is certainly a valuable instrument to correct decisions that are perceived as unfair. The Committee makes a proposal to add colleagues to the promotion list and the final word will always be with the Director General of DG HR (“Appointing Authority”).

If you feel that you have been refused a deserved promotion for no real reason following the publication of the promotion list, one could eventually still submit a judicial action following a complaint under Article 90.2 of the Staff Regulations. On this respect, the Court has recently set the obligation for the Administration to motivate adequately a decision for non-promotion (see Case T-605/19), in a case that involved TAO’s president.

Promoting deserving staff in a fair and transparent way is indispensable for a modern European civil service that serves European citizens as they expect. We therefore call once more on the Administration to tackle the shortcomings of the promotion procedure, to ensure fairness and transparency for all colleagues. TAO-AFI is ready to support and contribute to these efforts.