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Career Opportunities in the European Union

The European Union is made up of democratic European countries, working together toward peace and prosperity. Member states work cooperatively with The EU, which is considered the “voice of Europe.”

The European Union consists of five institutions, each with a specific role:

  1. European Parliament (elected representatives from the member states)
  2. Council of European Union (represents governments of member states)
  3. European Commission (executive body of the EU)
  4. Court of Justice (ensures compliance with laws)
  5. Court of Auditors (controls EU budget)

Additionally, there are five other important bodies (

  1. European Economic and Social Committee (expresses the opinions of organized civil society on economic and social issues)
  2. Committee of the Regions (expresses the opinions of regional and local authorities)
  3. European Central Bank (responsible for monetary policy and managing the euro)
  4. European Ombudsman (handles citizens' complaints about any EU institution or body)
  5. European Investment Bank (finances investment projects)

Career Paths

Positions at the EU might include participating in the EU legislative and budgetary processes, coordinating the broad economic policies of the Member States, taking part in negotiations with non-EU countries, helping run the common agricultural policy, or ensuring that Community law is uniformly interpreted and effectively applied. Staff in the research sector work mainly for the Commission's Directorates-General Research and Development, Joint Research Center and Information Society, and also in Directorates-General Enterprise, Fisheries, Energy and Transport or Environment.

Each staff category has a basic salary scale, divided into steps. Officials move up one step automatically every two years until they reach the highest step in their grade. Staff meeting specific requirements can move up to the next category by means of open competitions (internal or external). Salaries depend on your personal circumstances and whether you have left your Member State to take up employment with one of the Institutions. Officials pay a Community tax and deductions are also made for medical insurance and pensions.

Qualifications Necessary

The European Communities Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) manages and organizes open competitions to select qualified staff for recruitment to all institutions of the European Union, primarily the European Parliament, the Council, the European Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Ombudsman.

Entrance to the EU through open examination is offered annually. Planned open competitions are announced on the EU website: Notice is also placed in national newspapers and journals in the member states. The general requirements to take part in a competition include being a citizen of a member State or a citizen of an accession and having good knowledge of at least one other official language of the EU (besides your native language). “A” category posts require a graduate degree. Candidates for an "A" category job at the EU Institutions need drive, initiative, skills in managing people and resources, and imagination.

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