(CN) – Europe’s executive body has proposed massive civil service cuts to save $1.3 billion in difficult economic times over the next decade.
The proposal calls for a 5 percent cut in staff across EU institutions, increased weekly work hours, salary reductions and a higher retirement age.
Staff reductions are to be implemented for four years starting in 2013. EU civil servants would have to retire at 65 instead of 63, with the option of staying at the workplace until they are 67.
The workweek would go to 40 hours from 37.5, with no increase in salary. Secretaries and other clerical workers would see their pay cut by nearly one-fifth.
In addition, a “solidarity levy,” or additional tax docked from EU staff’s pay, would increase from 5.5 to 6 percent.
Financing for the EU comes from member-state contributions. Debt crises in several European countries have made it difficult for them to pay their bills to the bloc.
The bulk of money from the common pot goes toward contentious agricultural subsidies as well as research and technology programs intended to stimulate economic growth. The EU is also dedicating an increasing amount of its budget to border controls.
The EU’s total budget for last year was around $157 billion, with roughly $10 billion going to administration.
“The European institutions and their staff face great challenges,” EU Administration Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said in a statement about the proposed cuts. “However, I am convinced that they can meet these challenges by working harder, longer and with greater efficiency.”