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The European Institutions: A career at the heart of Europe

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work in a multi-cultural, fast paced, exciting environment on issues that can make a difference in normal people’s lives? Then a career within the European institutions might just be for you.

There are many diverse careers available to graduates from translation and interpreting to working in administrative, legal and technical roles across the numerous EU Institutions, such as the European Parliament, European Council and the European Commission to name a few. With these different roles, you could be working on issues relating to climate change, global security, international development, human rights and much more.

Improve the lives of European citizens

If you pursue a career in this area, you have the potential to impact on the lives of 450 million EU citizens. Since the establishment of the European Union, Member States have benefitted from peace and prosperity through the EU single market. By working in one of the European institutions or associated agencies you can further policy that directly impacts your own country and other EU Member states. The European Union has improved the lives of its citizens through many initiatives such as EU structural funding, the Common Agricultural Policy, the Economic and Monetary Union, EU Travel and Consumer rights and vigilance against human rights violations across Europe to name a few. You can be a small part in any one of these diverse initiatives and many more besides by pursuing a career in this sector.

International working environment

When working in the heart of Europe, you will inevitably work with people from other EU member states. This creates a working environment that is diverse and stimulating, where you are constantly learning about different cultures and countries. You can also improve upon your own language skills and potentially acquire new languages, indeed in many jobs within the institutions, there is often language training available to employees. A career in the European institutions will allow you to expand your own horizons and travel both within and outside Europe, you could even pursue opportunities to work in EU agencies across Europe or the numerous EU delegations around the world.

Where do I apply for roles within the European Institutions?

If you have an ambition to work in this exciting sector, there are many paid internships and positions that you can apply for in order to gain experience and start your career journey. The European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) accepts applications for numerous traineeships within the various EU institutions and EU agencies. These paid traineeships are available across a wide variety of policy areas allowing graduates to apply to institutions and areas that interest them. This also gives graduates an insight into what it is like to work on research and policy in an international dynamic environment. There are also many internship and temporary positions available to graduates in the countless consultancies, think tanks, and advocacy groups in Brussels. These positions are regularly posted on various EU job sites  

European Movement Ireland produce the “green book” publication every year specifically for Irish graduates who wish to pursue a career within the European Union and its institutions. The publication gives useful career guidance information and advice on living and working in European institutional hubs such as Brussels or Luxembourg.

Working within the EU institutions offers an exciting career where you can learn about other cultures and countries, travel and acquire new knowledge and skills and input into policy that can impact the lives of millions of ordinary people across Europe.

European Studies at the University of Limerick

The University of Limerick offers degree programmes tailor-made for future careers in the EU institutions, such as the BA in European Studies, the longest-established such programme in the whole of the EU, and two MA courses, the MA in European Politics and Governance and the newly launched Double Degree MA in European Studies in cooperation with the Europa Universität Flensburg, Germany.  In 2019, Prof. Joachim Fischer (Course Director, Double Degree MA in European Studies) was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European Cultural Studies. The Centre for European Studies at the University of Limerick has been designated a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.

UL MA students on their class trip to Brussels, Belgium-pictured here at the European Parliament, Brussels.

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