Salaries all European Commission and other EU institutions’ officials get adjusted by a factor called the ‘Correction Coefficient’. Your EU salary amount directly depends on where the institution you work for is located. Each year Eurostat tracks how expensive (or cheap) it is to live in all EU member states and third countries the EU has a representation. The outcome of this exercise is the Correction Coefficient.
Brussels is the reference point
The coefficient for a particular EU country is defined relative to Brussels. Brussels is always considered 100%. Here’s a simple formula of your final salary amount that shows the impact of the Correction Coefficient.
This means that even if you and a friend have the same position, grade and step, but work in two different EU countries, your take-home pay will differ substantially. Below is an example of the basic salary of a Contract Agent, function group IV, that has started to work for the a) European Commission for Brussels, b) European Environmental Agency in Copenhangen, and c) European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in Warsaw.
|Location/ Institution||Basic Salary for Contract Agent, FG IV, Grade 13, Step 1||Correction Coefficient||Actual Basic Salary||Difference in EUR|
|European Commission, Brussels||3,170.61 €||100.00%||3,170.61 €||0.00 €|
|European Environmental Agency, Copenhagen||3,170.61 €||131.90%||4,182.03 €||+1,011.42 €|
|Frontex, Warsaw||3,170.61 €||68.60%||2,175.04 €||-995.57 €|
As you see from the table, if you work in Warsaw, you will lose almost 1000 euros despite performing the same tasks as your colleague in Brussels. It’s important to remember that all of the other allowances and supplementary payments also get increased/decreased by the Correction Coefficient. For this reason, your total income will be even lower compared to a European Commission Colleague.
You might also want to read this article: How much EU officials earn?
Correction coefficients by EU country
Take a look at the table below to assess how lucrative it is to work for a particular EU institution or agency if it is not located in Brussels. It is generally felt that the Correction Coefficients below 100% do not reflect the actual cost of living for expats in the respective country. While Eurostat looks at actual average price levels and other costs, these often do not reflect the reality for employees of EU institutions. For example, expats are rarely able to rent appartments for the same prices as locals. As soon as a property owner finds out that a person is not a local, it’s common for the quoted price to increase by a quarter or more.
The below table with Correction Coefficients by country lets you assess what will be your final take-home salary.
If you wish to geek out on the subject, here’s a helpful article by Eurostat on methodology of calculating the correction coefficient.
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