Q: Alexis Georgoulis (SYRIZA, GR), Francisco Guerreiro (The Greens/EFA, PT), Karen Melchior (Renew, DK), Monica Semedo (Renew, LU), Loucas Fourlas (PPE, CY) - Pets in the EU institutions’ buildings (2022-11-28)
Many international companies allow their employees to bring their pets to work, since pets in the workplace improve workers’ mental health, productivity, trust and communication, while decreasing stress.
The health and welfare of animals and people is also linked to stray animals. According to research, stray animals are a major problem in most European cities. This issue entails significant costs for the competent authorities and therefore needs further attention.
Despite their undeniable contribution to improving people’s well-being, pets are not allowed into any of the EU institutions’ buildings.
Given that the EU institutions are considered to be at the leading edge in terms of personnel policies:
- 1. Would the Commission consider allowing pets into all or certain areas of its buildings?
- 2. Would it consider creating spaces with bins and special bags for employees to use when taking their pets outdoors?
- 3. Would it consider encouraging its workers to adopt a stray pet?
A: Mr Hahn on behalf of the European Commission
1. The well-being and the physical and psychological health of its staff are of the utmost importance to the Commission. They are at the core of the recently adopted Human Resources strategy. Furthermore, last autumn, the Commission adopted a ‘BeWell’ action plan, covering physical and mental health and overall wellbeing at the working place.
Regarding the presence of dogs in its premises, the Commission is exploring pet-related presence and will organise pilot actions where staff could come with their pets.
The legal framework of the Commission would need to be adapted taking into consideration various features with regard to health and safety of staff as well as some practical issues. Currently, there are already cases where presence is allowed, such as guide or hearing dogs for colleagues with a disability, as well as patrol dogs used for the security of Commission premises.
2. Local authorities in Belgium and other hosting Member States have created spaces with special bins and bags for pets in their public spaces, which are often at the vicinity of Commission buildings.
3. Adopting an animal is a private commitment and therefore outside the role of the Commission as an employer.