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Staff working for the European Union

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Before you are even thinking of applying for an EPSO Competition, you need to understand how EU staff is structured. Needless to say, skilled personnel are required to operate this vast institutional machinery.

Staff figures EU

1.      Permanent Staff are the bureaucrats forming the EU Civil Service. They can be:

  • Administrators (AD) are university graduates from streams such as administration, communication, law, economics, finance, science and the like. Relevant work experience is made mandatory for some administrative positions

EU ADs draft and implement legislative and budgetary policies of EU, coordinate economic policies of member states, conduct trade negotiations with non-EU countries, draft verdicts of the European Court of Justice, represent EU at other international organisations etc.

  • Assistants (AST) provide support or secretarial services such as computing, documentation and record keeping for internal management of EU institutions

2.      Contract Agents are temporary administrators and assistants who work on a determined duration contract. They compensate the shortage of skilled personnel for short durations and handle four types of tasks:

  • administrative, linguistic and advisory
  • executive tasks such as drafting, accountancy and the like
  • office management duties such as clerical and secretarial tasks
  • administrative support and manual tasks

Permanent Staff and Contract Agents need to possess full citizen rights of an EU member country, must have fulfilled military service obligations as defined by law, and must possess thorough knowledge of one of the official EU languages along with a satisfactory knowledge of another EU official language. Linguists need to possess additional language skills.

 3.      Temporary Agents are those non-permanent personnel employed for a maximum period of 6 years who perform a whole range of highly skilled tasks. They may also be employed for non-specialist tasks for the same 6 years.

These agents are directly recruited by agencies and institutions of the EU and not by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO)

4.      Interim Staff is hired from local population for short durations of up to 6 months. EU institutions recruit these through temping agencies

5.      Trainee programs specifically tailored to nurture EU administrators are conducted each year for more than 1,200 university graduates. The training lasts for 3 to 5 months and is organized by EU institutions such as European Parliament, Court of Justice, Ombudsman, Social and Economic Committee, EU Commission, EU Council and Committee of the Regions

6.      Seconded National Experts (SNE) are public officials – public sector employees and national-international civil servants – selected through special procedures not involving the EPSO. Experts from universities, international organizations and research institutions are also eligible for being SNEs

They work with EU officials in an EU institution for achievement of strategic objectives of the particular EU institution. SNEs are specialists in their field and detailed rules govern their conditions of service to prevent situations involving conflict of interest or misuse of authority.