‘Politico’: European Commissioner Corina Cretu’s work habits prompt aides leaving her office
Nearly half of EU Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Creţu’s closest staff resigned during her first year in office over concerns about the Romanian’s work habits, politico.eu informs.
Current and former employees described an office in disarray amid the departures of her head of cabinet, deputy head, and her communications chief, among others.
The unusually high turnover – with 8 out of 19 people in her private office gone in 12 months – came in the wake of concerns about the commissioner’s light work schedule as well as her tendency to combine official trips with leisure travel and to ask staff to perform personal tasks, such as doing laundry, shopping for groceries and chauffeuring family members.
Several aides in Creţu’s personal office left because they feared that they would not be able to defend her. The staff grew so concerned that the commissioner was taking too much time off that her then-head of cabinet warned against blocking her schedule for “commissioner time” or “no meetings” because it might look suspicious.
POLITICO spoke to 11 former and current staffers in her Commission office, many of whom declined to comment on the record about the staff upheaval.
A copy of the commissioner’s personal schedule for the past 12 months, which POLITICO obtained, often showed no meetings on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Staff sources said an open schedule meant she usually wasn’t working during those times.
Among the 28 commissioners, Creţu has one of the highest absentee rates at the weekly meetings of the full Commission, or College, missing nearly a quarter of them. (…)
To date, there have been no official complaints about Creţu’s behaviour or investigations related to staff issues, according to a Commission official.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said she “is a solid member of Team Juncker and doing a great job as regional policy commissioner for jobs and growth.”
In an interview last week, Creţu defended her work habits, saying she maintains a full professional and travel schedule.
“I’m the one who never says no,” Creţu told POLITICO. “I visited 24 countries, I oversee all of the operational programs. I have 700 people in the DG (Directorate-General) who I’m preparing for. I’m preparing for the cabinet.”
Creţu acknowledged trying to keep meetings to a minimum but said she spends a lot of time reading to prepare for them.
In response to a detailed inquiry, the commissioner’s new head of cabinet Nicola De Michelis cited the “intensity” of Creţu’s schedule as a reason for the high staff turnover in the office, and said it is normal for staffers to leave if the workload expands.
“Personnel changes in cabinets are not exceptional, especially in the first year of the mandate when work requirements are involving too much portfolio-related priorities not known earlier,” he said.