At the start of 2020, the European Commission had 32847 employees. However, there are many other institutions of the European Union that also employ staff. The total number of people employed by the whole “EU system” is over 60000 persons. The “EU system” includes such bodies as the European Parliament, EU agencies, and lesser known entities such as the European Court of Auditors.
While the 60000 figure might seem like a lot at first glance, there are fewer employees in EU institutions than in the central governments of Sweden and Greece (66,409 and 75,112 respectively, see Eurostat data).
Most common position – AD and AST
Officials – AD and AST grades – form the largest part of European Commission staff at 64.5% or 21204 persons. Contract agents – FG I-IV form 22.8% or 7478 staff members. The European Commission has a surprisingly small number of ‘Seconded National Experts’ or SNEs, only 551 persons or 1.7% of all employed persons.
Largest DGs or General Directorates
If you ever wanted to be employed by the European Commission, it makes sense to look at which are the largest General Directorates, as there the likelihood of relevant vacancies is the highest. Here’s a top five of the Commission DGs by number of staff:
- DEVCO or Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development – 3291 staff
- JRC or the Joint Research Centre- 2750 staff
- DGT or Directorate-General for Translation – 2161 staff
- NEAR or Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations – 1618 staff
- HR or Directorate-General for Human Resources and Security – 1310 staff
Where are the European Commission staff employed?
Brussels is the most likely place of employment of a European Commission official – 65.1% of all staff members work in Brussels. However, a whopping 34.9% of European Commission staff work in several other locations:
- 11.3% work in Luxembourg
- 10.8% work in various locations in EU
- 12.8% work in locations outside the EU
What are the European Commission staff costs?
On average, the EU institutions spend around 6% of their annual budget on staff, administration and maintenance of buildings.
Number of staff at other EU institutions
While the European Commission is the largest of all European Union bodies, it is not the only EU institution. For comparison, here are the staff numbers of other EU institutions:
- European Parliament – 7500 (Source)
- Council of the European Union – 3500 (Source)
- Court of Justice – 2256 (Source)
- Court of Auditors – 900 (Source)
- 37 EU agencies and six European Commission executive agencies – 8957 staff members or 13.4% of all EU institutions staff. Source: European Court of Auditors. Special Report “Future of EU agencies – Potential for more flexibility and cooperation”. p.4.
Other relevant articles:
* How much to EU officials earn?
* How much does the European Commission President make?