At the start of 2022, the European Commission had 32169 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” slightly over 60000 persons. The “EU system” includes such bodies as the European Parliament, The European Council, 40+ 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 positions – administrators and assistants
Officials and temporary agents – grades AD and AST also known as administrators – form the largest part of European Commission staff at 63.2% or 20348 persons. Contract agents in grades FG I to FGIV form 23.2% or 7458 staff members. The European Commission has a surprisingly small number of ‘Seconded National Experts’ or SNEs, only 532 persons or 1.7% of all Commission staff.
You might also want to read these articles:
* What is the salary of a contract agent FG IV?
* AD5 salary and allowances
* Job opportunities in EU agencies
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:
- INTPA (previously DEVCO) or Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development – 2924 staff
- JRC or the Joint Research Centre – 2743 staff
- DGT or Directorate-General for Translation – 2062 staff
- NEAR or Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations – 1423 staff
- HR or Directorate-General for Human Resources and Security – 1320 staff
Where are the European Commission staff employed?
Brussels is the most likely place of employment of a European Commission official – 66.2% of all staff members work in Brussels. However, a whopping 33.8% of European Commission staff work in several other locations:
- 11.5% work in Luxembourg
- 10.9% work in various locations in EU (mainly European Commission representations)
- 11.4% work in locations outside the EU (mainly in EU Delegations)
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 – 8000 (Source)
- Council of the European Union – 3500 (Source)
- Court of Justice – 2256 (Source)
- Court of Auditors – 900 (Source)
- 37 EU agencies – 8957 staff members or 13.4% of all EU institutions staff
Other relevant articles:
* How much do EU officials earn?
* How much does the European Commission President make?
* European Commission report “HR key figures 2022”
* European Court of Auditors Special Report “Future of EU agencies – Potential for more flexibility and cooperation”. p.4.
* Images come from European Commission reports “HR key figures 2021” and “HR key figures 2022”
3 responses to “How many people work for the European Commission?”
“Staff under national law” are likely not SNEs, but contract agents with a contract under the law of the place of employement, such as for example the Salariés de Droit Luxembourgeois (SDL)
SNEs are usually not considered to be staff members.
As indicated in the report of the Court of Auditors, the six axecutive agencies staff are not included in this calculation of 8957 staff members. only the decentralised agencies are included.
Thank you for pointing this out, the article is updated accordingly.