European Union official

Alternative job titles
EU adminstrator (AD)
EU assistant (AST)

Role info

You would help to create policies and laws for the European Union (EU). You’d make sure the laws are applied in the member countries that make up the EU.

You might work for the European Commission (the largest department, which is the civil service of the EU).

Or there are six other institutions of the EU you could work for, including the Court of Justice and the European Parliament.

The various departments have a wide range of powers and functions. Different bodies will:

  • Propose new laws
  • Make sure all member countries obey EU laws
  • Do the practical work for the agricultural and other policies
  • Manage EU programmes and budgets
  • Represent the EU in international affairs

You could work in one of a wide range of jobs at either administrator (AD) or assistant (AST) grade.

Depending on the department, as an administrator you would:

  • Draft new laws
  • Take part in negotiations with non-EU countries
  • Put new policies and programmes into practice
  • Attend meetings and conferences
  • Prepare research and reports
  • Answer questions from members of the European Parliament

You would probably manage staff, finances or equipment.

You could work as a translator, interpreter or lawyer linguist (a qualified lawyer who translates legal texts into your native language) at the administrator grade.

Assistants provide support for the administrators. As an assistant you might collect and analyse information, give secretarial support, or provide accounting, information technology (IT) or library services.

You would usually work in several different EU departments during your career.

You’d need to be interested in current affairs and speak at least one other EU language other than your own.

Personal Qualities

  • Drive and initiative
  • The ability to work with people of many different nationalities
  • An interest in current affairs

Working conditions


Your standard working week would be 37 hours, Monday to Friday, although in theory you are expected to be available for work at all times.


You would be office-based, but you may attend meetings and conferences elsewhere.


Most jobs are available in Brussels or Luxembourg. You may also travel to attend meetings and conferences. You will usually have access to a range of social facilities to help you integrate into life in the host country.

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


For Administrative Assistant (grade AST) you need three to four Highers (SCQF level 6) and at least two to three years’ suitable work experience or a relevant Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8).

For Administrator (grade AD) you will need a university degree (SCQF level 9/10).  

For Lawyer linguist jobs (grade AD7) you must have a recognised law degree or be a qualified solicitor or barrister, and be fluent in two more EU languages as well as your native language.

Application for all jobs is made through an annual selection process known as open competition. This is made up of two parts, a computer based test in your own country, followed by an assessment stage held in Brussels. The assessment comprises a case study, a group exercise, an oral presentation and a structured interview.

Successful completion of this stage leads to you being placed on a reserve until a suitable job comes up. This could take up to one year.

You will also need
  • To be a citizen of an EU state. 
  • To have a very good knowledge of a second language which must be either English, French or German.  

For most administrative jobs your degree can be in any subject but some jobs require a degree in a specific subject such as law, economics, statistics or a science. 

For linguistic jobs your main language must be one of the 23 official languages of the EU. Linguists (interpreters, translators, lawyer-linguists) must have additional knowledge of languages above the minimum.       

Helpful to have

For some jobs you need one to three years suitable professional experience after your degree. Experience before your degree does not count towards this.

People doing this kind of job in the UK have these types of qualifications

Overview of similar roles

The information below relates to several job roles. These jobs are at the same level, and the tasks you’ll do and the skills and qualifications you’ll need are similar.

Career overview

Average UK salary range

Currently employed in Scotland

Six year jobs forecast

Career outlook

Jobs in Scotland

UK employment status