The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is the first port of call for anyone wanting to work for the EU. Its website explains the selection process and gives advice on preparing for competitions.
Recruitment of permanent staff
EPSO organises 'open competitions' to select permanent staff. Competitions measure candidates' skills through a series of tests and assessments, ensuring the very best people are selected. Each year there are competitions for administrators, linguists, interpreters, translators, secretaries and other staff categories.
EPSO recruits staff for all the EU institutions:
- European Parliament – based in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg (France)
- Council of the EU – based in Brussels
- European Commission – based in Brussels (Belgium) and Luxembourg. The Commission is the largest employer among the EU institutions, with staff in Europe and offices around the world. A number of specialised posts are available, for example for people with a background in science, languages or statistics/economics.
- Court of Justice of the European Union – based in Luxembourg
- Court of Auditors – based in Luxembourg
- European Economic and Social Committee – based in Brussels
- Committee of the Regions – based in Brussels
- European Ombudsman – based in Strasbourg
- European Data Protection Supervisor – based in Brussels.
Permanent officials are divided into administrators and assistants.
Administrators are typically involved in drafting policies and monitoring the implementation of EU law, analysing and advising. In general, to apply for an administrator competition, you must have completed (at least) three years of university.
Assistants usually work in supporting roles and are crucial for the internal management of the institutions. In general, to apply for an assistant competition, you must have completed (at least) secondary school.
Other selection and recruitment procedures
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 for specialised or temporary tasks with contracts of up to six years. Vacancies can be found on EPSO's website and on the websites of individual institutions and agencies.
Some institutions also take on local interim staff for up to six months – mainly for secretarial work. In this case recruitment is done by temping agencies.
Seven institutions also take on trainees for three to five months. Known as stagiaires, the trainees can be students, or linguists, and are given tasks similar to those of lower-grade administrators. Selection is organised by the institutions (not by EPSO).
For specific tasks (maintenance, canteens, etc.), staff are recruited via outside contractors selected through open tender procedures. See the contracting services websites for more information.
Seconded national experts (SNEs)
These are normally public-sector employees in their home country, seconded for a fixed period to an EU institution to share their expertise and learn about EU policies and procedures. National experts are selected through a specific procedure, which does not involve EPSO. Your country's permanent representation to the EU can inform you about current opportunities.
The EU maintains databases with the names and qualifications of independent experts who can assist the institutions and agencies in specific areas. Experts create and maintain their own password-protected profile with information on work experience, education and skills. These databases are maintained by individual institutions and agencies (not EPSO). The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), for example, hosts a database of experts working under the 7th Framework Programme for EU research.