Economist positions at the European Commission

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7 replies on “Economist positions at the European Commission”

The requirement that applicants for posts at the European Commisdsion must “have the necessary language skills” will of course rule out virtually all candidates whose mother tongue is English.

Although the only language one requires in the field of economics is, of course, English.

That’s the EC for you.

If you are going to apply, you have to take the aptitude tests in your second language out of a choice of English, French or German.

So assuming you can’t blag that Irish is your first language, you will; be competing against people who were compulsorily educated from an early age in a useful, modern, second language.

This colour from a previously sucessful candidate:

“I work on budgetary surveillance at a time of unprecedented economic conditions and so am constantly
involved in analysing new situations and the appropriate response to them. There is a lot of work but it
could never be described as following a set pattern and this means that on any day in the office you don’t
know what to expect. I have learnt details of fiscal policy of countries I could only place on the map before.”


But above all you will be competing with underpaid, highly qualified and multi-lingual applicants from Eastern Europe, the Balkans (including Greece) and Baltic countries.

My hunch is that the likelihood of any anglophones getting through is close to zero, unless of course a number of posts have been reserved for them under the informal, nationality-based quota system that the Commission has been applying ever since its establishment. But I may be quite mistaken here.

You are all missing the point. These posts are in financial economics or macroeconomics, all that is needed for now.

Posts in Anglo-Saxon economics will be advertised later.

@Colm McCarhty

splutter snort now i’ve that expensive single matl all over my kyeborda.


I was at a conference during the week in Munich. There was a consignment from the London office who were restricted to speaking fahkin English. Even the Paris crowd were bilingual and a few spoke German.

An Irish finance minister speaking French with Christine Lagarde played a role in the Irish handling of the crisis.

There are many Irish abroad who get by very well in foreign languages. The over-emphasis of Irish language teaching on grammar came in handy when an American multinational paid a German teacher to teach me German. I could understand most of the grammatical details without much hassle and could concentrate on pronunciation and vocabulary.

Most Germans and French can tell a similar story to most Irish people. They were inflicted with language teaching at school and managed to get through their exams. If they can actually speak the languages depends on their own personal engagement.

Academics cannot engage with most of the literature if they don’t read English. I guess the Commission requires people who can indoctrinate themselves by reading the FAZ and Handelsblatt.

The foreign language must be at B2 level, see:

B2 is the level you would reach if you started from zero and spent 8 months learning for 20 hours per week. For reference, here in Germany B1 is the level required for citizenship and C1 is the level foreign students require for entrance to university courses with German language content (many Masters are now in English).

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