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Monday, March 19, 2012

What are European officials like? An independent research

The UK Economic and Social Research Council, EU Consent and a private donor financed an interesting research project , about the backgrounds, values, attitudes and motivation of European Commission officials (the Commission is by far the largest European Institution, with about 33 thousand staff ( see details here , more than all other European institutions together).

The project also investigated their opinion on how the Commission works, including the changes introduced by the 2004 reform and the latest big enlargements.

As the Commission supported the research, a representative sample of nearly two thousand officials could be surveyed. Also interviews of different categories of staff were conducted. The research was supported but not influenced by the Commission.

European Voice gave a good summary of the results:
First, the Commission's workforce is more diverse than is often assumed.
Most of them are economists and those who studied natural science are also more than lawyers. More than one-third of the Commission's staff recruited in the last years worked before in business and 90% had already work experience when joining the Commission.
As far as their views about Europe are concerned, only 36% of them are federalists, while 12% believe that the member states should be the central pillars of the Union.
Their motivations are also diverse: competitive remuneration and professional interest are factors of growing importance. Of course most of them share a will to ‘build Europe'.
The administrative reforms did not get a univocal recognition while the best rated president was Delors, but Barroso, the present president came out second after him.
They thought that the Commission is more difficult to manage since enlargement but they appreciated "their talented, enthusiastic and highly motivated colleagues recruited from the ‘new' member states", according to European Voice.

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