How many employees does the European Commission have?

Breakdown of European Commission staff numbers by various categories on 1 January 2020
Breakdown of European Commission staff numbers by various categories on 1 January 2020

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, The European Council, 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.

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:

  • 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?

By Ben

I'm working at my third EU institution. This website is my way of sharing know-how and expertise no matter if you just plan to get an EU job, already have one, or are planning to leave one. At all stages of your EU job "lifecycle" there are things which are important or nice to know to make the journey more comfortable. I really appreciate every comment that helps me improve the articles for other readers! Tips on new article topics welcome!

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