Barking mad? Commission mulls bring-your-pet-to-work policy – ​​POLITICO

BRUSSELS — Is the European Commission going to the dogs?

Management may soon consider letting employees bring their furry friends — and other pets — to work.

“As regards the presence of dogs on its premises, the Commission is studying the presence linked to pets and will organize pilot actions where staff could come with their pets”, wrote the Commissioner for Budget and administration Johannes Hahn to MPs in a memo published on Wednesday.

An intergroup group of MEPs embarked in late November 2022 on a relentless quest to improve the mental health of Eurocrats, formally asking the Commission if it would consider allowing pets in its buildings.

“Despite their undeniable contribution to improving the well-being of people, pets are not allowed in any of the buildings of the EU institutions”, yelped Alexis Georgoulis (The Left), Francisco Guerreiro (Greens), Karen Melchior (Renew), Monica Semedo (Renew) and Loucas Fourlas (PPE).

EU institutions “are considered to be at the forefront of personnel policies”, they wrote, pointing out that many international companies already let their employees bring their pets to work.

Carefully avoiding the potential fallout from such a policy, MEPs also asked whether the Commission would consider ‘creating spaces with bins and special bags for employees’ to use when their pets have to respond to a call from the nature.

In Brussels fashion, MEPs also suggested that a Commission pet-friendly policy could help solve a costly problem for member states, asking whether the European Commission would encourage its workers to adopt stray dogs.

Citing the results of a Commission-funded study, MEPs said stray animals are a major problem in most European cities, causing “significant costs for the competent authorities”.

But anyone who thinks changing EU rules is simple is on the wrong track; allowing pets in the office would mean adapting the Commission’s legal framework, “taking into account various features regarding the health and safety of staff as well as some practical issues,” Hahn wrote.

The Austrian politician said the welfare of Commission staff was “of the utmost importance”.

Hahn also settled what could have been a bone of contention, explaining that the Belgian authorities are in charge of special bins for dog droppings, which are often located near Commission buildings. The Commission is also unable to rule on stray dog ​​adoptions for its staff, he added.

There is believed to be no truth to the rumors that the Commission will recommend “the Council” as the best place to take dogs to poop.


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