EU staff recruitment
The EU institutions employ over 60,000 people from the 27 EU member countries. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) holds 'open competitions' to select staff for permanent and non-permanent positions. EPSO’s website is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU: it explains the selection process and provides advice on how to prepare for competitions.
Types of EU careers available
The EU welcomes applicants from all walks of life, so a career with the EU means working with a diverse and multicultural group of colleagues. For most posts at the EU, you need to speak at least 2 EU languages.
In the EU institutions you can work on the major issues that affect us all: climate change, migration, safety and security, trade, mobile communication, to name but a few. You can also pursue opportunities to work in EU agencies based across Europe and EU delegations around the world.
Working for the EU, you can pursue many different career options, depending on your background: audit, communication, economics/statistics, European public administration, external relations, finance, information technology, languages (translation or interpreting), law, and others.
How to apply for different types of employment
The EU employs permanent staff (civil servants), contract staff and temporary staff, and offers traineeships (internships). It maintains databases of experts in relevant fields.
Permanent staff (civil servants) are classed either as administrators (AD) or as assistants (AST).
Administrators are typically involved in drafting policies, monitoring the implementation of EU law, conducting analyses and advising on specific fields. In general, to apply for an administrator competition, you must be a graduate and have successfully completed at least three years of university study.
Assistants, who usually work in supporting roles, are crucial for the internal management of the institutions. In general, to apply for an assistant competition, you must have successfully completed at least secondary school.
Contract staff are hired for specific manual or administrative tasks. Contracts are generally for a limited period – usually starting with 6-12 months.
Temporary staff are recruited on contracts of up to 6 years, for specialised or temporary tasks.
Each year, around 1,900 young graduates have the opportunity to take part in the EU trainee (intern) programmes. Most EU institutions offer internships lasting between 3 and 5 months.
Seconded national experts are national or international civil servants or public sector employees working temporarily for an EU institution. Contact your country's permanent representation to the EU for information about current opportunities.
Some institutions also take on local interim staff for up to 6 months, mainly for secretarial work. Contact local temping agencies for information about recruitment.
The European Parliament, the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union each have their own interpretation service, but there is a joint selection process for freelance interpreters. To become a freelance interpreter, you need to pass an accreditation test. To become a permanent official, you need to participate in the competitions organised by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO).
Besides translators, the EU institutions also need terminologists, language technology specialists, lawyer-linguists, editors, proofreaders and intercultural and language experts.
The EU institutions appoint external experts to help evaluate grant applications, projects and tenders, and to provide opinions and advice in specific cases. The EU maintains databases with the names and qualifications of independent experts who can assist the institutions and agencies in specific areas.
To find a job in a political group, contact one of the political parties represented in the European Parliament. These posts are not administered by the EU institutions.