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What does it take to work in the EU?

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the world of politics and international relations, Brussels is often referred to as “the EU bubble”. The EU bubble refers to people working in EU institutions, or to people who are otherwise closely involved with the workings of the EU. It’s a small world, and it can be a bit insular. But it’s also a world full of opportunity, where you can make a difference on a global scale.

Sometimes the term is used negatively, to describe how disconnected EU insiders can be from the realities of life in the Member States. But it can also be used positively, to describe the unique opportunities that exist for those who are or want to be a part of it.

Working in the EU bubble can be both exhilarating and frustrating. On the one hand, you’re at the heart of decision-making on some of the most important issues facing Europe. On the other hand, it can be a bit like living in a fishbowl, where everything you do and say is under scrutiny.

If you’re thinking of working in Brussels, here are a few things you should know:

  • It’s all about networking and communication

In Brussels, it’s all about who you know. If you want to get your foot in the door, start by making connections. Attend events, meet people, and exchange business cards. The more people you know, the better your chances of finding a job or landing a contract.

Also, communication is key. Whether you’re writing a report or giving a presentation, your communication and writing skills will be put to the test. If you’re not confident in your abilities, there are plenty of courses you can take to improve them.

  • It’s a small and complex world

Brussels is a small city, and the world of EU politics is even smaller. Everyone knows each other, and news travels fast. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself in the middle of a scandal. So it’s important to be discreet and professional at all times. Also, the EU is a complex institution, and it can be difficult to understand how it works. If you want to be successful in Brussels, you need to be able to navigate the bureaucracy and know who to talk to.

  • It’s competitive

So if you want to work in the EU bubble, you need to be prepared to compete for a job. You need to have the right skills, and you need to know the right people. And you need to be prepared for a long, tough job hunt. But it’s worth it. The EU bubble is a unique place, and it offers opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

  • Be fluent in at least two European languages

If you want to work in the EU, you need to be able to communicate in at least two European languages. English is one of the most spoken languages in Brussels, but it’s not the only one. French and German are also very widely used, and many people speak multiple languages.

  • Get to know the city and its people

Brussels is a cosmopolitan city, and its people are just as diverse. To get ahead in Brussels, it’s important to be open-minded and tolerant of different cultures and lifestyles. It’s also a good idea to learn about the city’s history and culture. That way, you’ll be able to connect with its residents and understand their way of life.

  • Be passionate about your work

Working in the EU can be frustrating at times, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. If you’re passionate about your work, you’ll be able to make a difference. So if you’re looking for a challenge, and you’re not afraid to fight for what you believe in, Brussels is the place for you.

  • Keep a positive attitude

Working in the EU bubble can be stressful, and there will be days when you feel like giving up. But it’s important to stay positive and keep your head up. Remember, you’re not alone. There are thousands of people working in Brussels who understand what you’re going through. So take a deep breath, relax, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

  • Persevere through setbacks

Working in the Brussels bubble can be a test of your resilience. There will be times when you’re faced with rejection, or when things don’t go your way. But it’s important to persevere and never give up on your dreams. With hard work and determination, you’ll eventually achieve your goals.

  • Be patient

Working in the EU can be a slow and bureaucratic process. Don’t expect things to happen overnight. Be patient and stay focused on your long-term goals.

  • Know your worth and ask for what you deserve

In the Brussels bubble, salaries can vary widely. So it’s important to know your worth and ask for what you deserve. If you’re not sure how much you should be paid, there are plenty of resources available to help you figure it out.

  • Be prepared for anything

Working in the EU is full of surprises. You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. Keep an open mind, and don’t let anything catch you off guard.

  • You’re not alone

If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are plenty of people working in the EU who understand what you’re going through. So reach out and ask for help. 

  • Have fun!

Just because Brussels is the capital of the EU, doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play. There’s plenty to do in the city, from exploring its museums and art galleries to enjoying its nightlife. So take some time to enjoy yourself, and you’ll soon see why Brussels is such a great place to live and work.


So there you have it: a few things you should know before working in the EU bubble. If you’re up for the challenge, then Brussels is the place for you. Just remember to network, communicate, and stay positive. And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be the one making decisions for Europe.


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.


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