European Union

EU administration - staff, languages and location

EU administration - staff, languages and location

The EU spends around 6% of its annual budget on staff, administration and maintenance of its buildings.


The European Commission is divided into departments known as Directorates General (DGs), roughly equivalent to ministries. Each covers a specific policy area or service such as trade or environment, and is headed by a Director-General who reports to a Commissioner. Around 32 000 people are employed by the European Commission.

In the European Parliament, around 7 500 people work in the general secretariat and in the political groups. They are joined by Members of Parliament and their staff. In the Council of the European Union, around 3 500 people work in the general secretariat.


The EU has 24 official languages.

The EU institutions employ around 4300 translators and 800 interpreters on its permanent staff. The estimated cost of all language services (translation and interpreting) in all EU institutions adds up to less than 1% of the annual general budget of the EU. Divided by the population of the EU, this comes to around €2 per person per year.


The European Commission is mainly based in Brussels and Luxembourg. It also has offices throughout the EU, and offices outside the EU. Agencies have been set up in many EU countries to deal with specific technical, scientific or managerial tasks. For example, the European Food Safety Authority in Italy provides independent scientific advice on all matters related to food safety.

The European Parliament holds its Committee meetings in Brussels and its plenary sessions in Brussels and Strasbourg. Administration is located in Luxembourg. It regularly sends delegations to regions outside the EU.

The Council buildings are in Brussels, where most of its meetings also take place. Occasionally meetings of the Council of the European Union are held in Luxembourg. Meetings between the heads of state and governments – the European Council – take place in Brussels.

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