Working at the EU institutions
Law graduates often find themselves in a difficult predicament when it comes to finding work. The job market is extremely competitive, and there are few places where law graduates can use their skills and knowledge to make a real difference. However, one place where law graduates can find work that is both meaningful and challenging is at the European Union institutions (EU).
In this article, we are going to examine some of the reasons why working at the EU institutions can be such a great option for law graduates. We are also going to analyse the skills and experience needed in order to be successful in your application. Before doing all that though, let’s first take a look at what the European Union is and does.
What is the European Union?
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The EU was established in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty, but its origins can be traced back to the 1950s. It has its own currency, the euro, and its own flag. The primary aim of the EU is to promote peace, security, and prosperity among its member states.
The EU institutions are the main bodies that make up the EU. These institutions are the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the Court of Justice of the EU, the European Central Bank, and the European Court of Auditors. The aforementioned are the main EU institutions but there are more than 30 agencies located throughout the Union.
To achieve these goals, the EU institutions carry out a number of activities. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Making and enforcing laws – The European Commission proposes laws on its own initiative. Ιt can also respond to invitations to do so from the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and EU citizens themselves following the submission of a successful European Citizens’ Initiative.
- Managing the EU budget – The European Parliament and Council of the European Union approve the annual EU budget. The European Commission is responsible for drafting and implementing it.
- Coordinating economic policy – The Eurogroup, which is an informal body, is responsible for coordinating the economic policy of the as of now 19 EU member states that use the Euro currency. In addition, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) also exists and is responsible for EU coordination of economic, taxation policies, and the regulation of financial services.
- Promoting the EU’s interests abroad – The European Union has around 140 Delegations spread throughout the world, which promote the EU’s interests and coordinate its activities. The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the EU’s diplomatic service and helps to further these goals. The EEAS is led by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who is also a Vice-President of the European Commission. The current High Representative is Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles.
- Protecting the citizens of the EU – The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) helps member states to fight crime and terrorism. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) helps to protect the EU’s external borders.
- Freedom of movement – The European Union allows its citizens to move freely within the territory of the member states. This right is enshrined in the EU treaties.
- Providing humanitarian aid – The European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations provides humanitarian aid to people in need around the world.
As you can see, there is a lot more to the EU than just making laws. The activities listed above are just a small sample of what the EU institutions do on a day-to-day basis. Now that we have a better understanding of what the EU is and does, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why working at the EU institutions can be such a great option for law graduates.
What are the benefits of working at the EU institutions?
There are many reasons why working at the EU institutions can be a great option for law graduates. These include:
- The opportunity to make a difference – The work of the EU institutions has a direct impact on the lives of more than 400 million European Union citizens. By working at the EU institutions, you can help to make a difference in the lives of these people.
- The opportunity to work on EU law – The EU is a unique legal order, which means that the law governing it is different from domestic law. As a result, working at the EU institutions offers you the opportunity to work on a relatively new legal order, which can be very interesting and rewarding.
- The opportunity to work in a multicultural environment – The EU is made up of 27 member states, 24 official languages, and a wide variety of cultures. This diversity is reflected in the workforce of the EU institutions, which provides a unique and challenging working environment.
- The opportunity to work in a global organisation that offers very good working conditions– The EU is a global organisation, which means that you will have the opportunity to work with people from all over the world. The EU institutions offer their employees excellent working conditions, including a good salary and benefits package.
These are just some of the reasons why working at the EU institutions can be a great option for law graduates. Having examined that, it’s time to analyse what kind of skills and experience you need to succeed and how you can get started with applications.
What kind of skills and experience do you need?
If you are looking for an exciting and challenging career, working at the EU institutions could be the perfect option for you. But what kind of skills and experience do you need to succeed?
When it comes to working at the EU civil service, there are three main types of permanent positions:
- Administrators – These are the people who work in the institutions to ensure that they function properly on a day-to-day basis. Administrators carry out a wide range of tasks, from policy analysis to administration.
- Assistants – Assistants’ tasks can range from administrative work to communication, research, and policy development.
- Secretaries – Secretaries are normally involved in office management.
In general to be successful in your application, you will need to demonstrate that you have the following skills and qualities:
- A good understanding of EU law – As a law graduate, you will already have a good understanding of EU law. However, you will need to make sure that you keep up to date with developments in this area, as the EU legal order is constantly evolving. That’s important especially if you’re applying for a position where you will have to deal every day with issues arising from the implementation of EU law.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills – Working at EU institutions requires excellent written and oral communication skills. This is because you will often be required to communicate with people from different countries and cultures.
- An ability to work in a team – The EU institutions are large organisations, which means that most employees work in teams. As a result, it is important that you have the ability to work effectively in a team.
- An ability to work under pressure – The work of the EU institutions can be demanding and challenging. As a result, you will need to be able to work well under pressure.
If you have these skills and qualities, working at EU institutions could be the perfect career option for you.
How to get started with applications?
If you are interested in working at the EU institutions, the first step is to find out what positions are available. The European Personnel Selection Office website is a good place to start your search.
Once you have found a position that you are interested in, the next step is to submit your application. The process for doing this will vary depending on the position that you are applying for. However, usually, you will need to participate in an open competition. Open competitions are open to all EU citizens who meet the necessary minimum requirements that are published in the Notice of Competition.
If you are successful in your application, you will be offered a position at one of the EU institutions. This is just the beginning of your career in the EU. Once you start working, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills and experience and to progress in your career.
Working at EU institutions can be a great career option for law graduates. Usually, you will need to have a good understanding of EU law, excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work in a team. If you have these skills, the next step is to find out what positions are available and submit your application.
Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
Congrapps is the №1 Platform for Verified Successful Career Resources! We collected the actual Cover Letters & Interview Experiences of those who made it to the most competitive graduate and entry-level jobs in Banking, Finance, Consulting and Law in London.
We help graduates achieve their dreams by levelling the playing field and giving access to the same information to everyone!