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How to become an European Commission

european commission careers

What does a European Commission do?

The European Commission is the civil service of the European Union and has a broad array of powers and functions such as proposing legislation, monitoring compliance with the Treaty, administering agricultural and other policies, managing Community programmes, administering budgets and representing the Community in external affairs.

There are four main departments or Directorates General (DG) in which officials work:

  • General Services - anti-fraud, communications and publications
  • Policies - economic affairs, education, employment, environment, tax, customs
  • External Relations - trade, development aid, external relations
  • Internal Services - budget, finance, legal, personnel, translation and interpreting services.
Mobility is encouraged and most staff work in a number of DGs during their career.

Following a recent restructure of the grading system, there are two categories of official – Administrators (AD) and Assistants (AST).

The type of work undertaken at Administrator grade might include drafting new legislation, taking part in negotiations with non-EU countries, and implementing and checking the progress of programmes. Other key tasks include attending meetings, preparing reports, responding to questions from members of the European Parliament, and dealing with enquiries from the general public. They may also be responsible for the management of people, finances or equipment.

Assistants support Administrator grade roles. Depending on the requirements and grading of the particular post, they may collect and analyse information, provide specialist services in fields such as accountancy, computing or librarianship, or perform secretarial and clerical duties.

What's the working environment like working as a European Commission?

The normal working week in Brussels is 37 hours, although in theory staff are expected to be available for work at all times. If they work outside the European Union the working hours and conditions could differ and relate more to the customs of the area in which they are based.

Officials are office-based.

Those working for the Commission and the other institutions of the European Union usually have a good standard of living, and have access to a range of social facilities to help their integration into the working environment and the everyday life of the host country.

What does it take to become a European Commission?

European Commission administrators should:

  • be reasonably fluent in one other Community language (English and French are the most common languages)
  • be able to adapt to a multilingual, cosmopolitan working atmosphere
  • have working knowledge of computing and word processing
  • be clear, logical thinkers
  • have perseverance and persistence
  • have an interest in current affairs.

European Commission Career Opportunities

OpportunitiesThe Commission employs about 16,500 officials, mainly working in Brussels or Luxembourg.

Career prospects in the Commission are good, with regular reviews, qualifying examinations and further competitions allowing promotion to higher grades.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about European Commission that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Cabinet Office
EU Staffing
Room G.1.4
Admiralty Arch
The Mall
London
SW1A 2WH
www.eu-careers-gateway.gov.uk

European Personnel Selection Office
C80 0/48
B-1049 Brussels
Belgium
www.europa.eu.int/epso

European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom
www.cec.org.uk

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

Courses to help you become a European Commission