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EUROPEAN COMMISSION: how to be a part of it and how it (doesn't) works



This Monday, the 23rd of November, European Generation had the pleasure to meet Mr. Francesco Laera (in substitution of Mr. Spada) Press Officer at European Commission in Italy, Milan Office. The aim of the event, moderated by Prof. Valentina Mele (director of the new Bocconi MSc in Government and International Organization), was enlightening which professional profiles are today searched by the European Institutions and in particular by the European Commission.


After a short speech on Commission powers as the executive body of UE, Mr. Laera defined which kind of profiles could fit the work in such institution: an huge variety of professional skills are required, most of all because several are the possible positions can be covered.

Therefore, the Commission in not only looking for politicians or economic experts, but also project managers, lawyers able to implement discussions on legislative purpose of Parliament and Council, people which has the ability to relate with national/local/international authorities, Communication experts and advisers. This explains the big differentiation in the age of people who works for CE: there's not a proper minimum or maximum required.

Obviously, speaking more languages is a must: English is the union common language, but also German and French are widely used.

To work in the Commission doesn't mean state yourself in Bruxelles: you can also work inside the states, in "representations" of CE, or also outside EU, in "delegations".

The most important side to face up with in CE careers is that your future won't be set as soon as you join the Commission: every five years, with a maximum of seven years, you have to change position. The reason is that CE works on very sensitive sides, therefore it's a need touching with reality inside and outside your specific job, developing your skills, applying these skills to show which tasks you are able to perform to change position. In order with that, every year commissioners are supposed to do a minimum amount of training moments.

Mr. Laera work experience shows itself how mobility through Union is the principal component of CE career: in 2012 he became Press Officer at European Commission in Italy, but before he had worked for 4 years as co-ordinator for inter-institutional relations at Agricultural and Rural Development Direction of CE, in Bruxelles.
It changed a lot the rule he used to play in his previous work: from operating in the "shadows" of UE dynamics, he's now relating with the representation of CE, which means working in a wide visibility.

Meeting Mr.Laera was a great chance to have an insight of European Commission: it actually helped to understand the trends in EU institutional market and the changes in required profiles.

At the same time, as we are asked to have wide human and social sights, deep flexibility of skills as possible future workers in EU, is the Commission (or in general European institutions) the best form of government which can take in account of all our interests, as citizens of Europe?

Shall we only make ourselves wondering about how to get a job in such institutions, or also start debating how they could change in a way more democratic and representative of its electors?

In the last elections, some steps in a democratization of Commission have been done: with this 8th edition of the European elections in 2014, the principle political parties named for the first time the respective candidates to the presidency of the Commission. The candidate of the party that gained the majority of the votes awarded the position of President of the Commission, previous approval of the new Parliament. Accordingly, voting to the European elections citizens had  not only the opportunity to influence the composition of the Parliament, but also to define who will propose and manage UE politics.

Despite this, bad judgment about how European organs work are still spread in the political context: the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage denounces new European Commission as "the enemy of the very concept of democracy".

 “I don’t think that the European public or commentators understand what the European Commission really is. The Commission is the executive, it is the Government of Europe and it has the sole right to propose legislation. It does so in consultation with 3,000 secret committees staffed mainly by big business and big capital and all the legislation is proposed in secret.Once something becomes a European law, it is the European Commission themselves who have the sole right to propose repeal or change of that legislation.The means by which the European Commission makes law and holds law is actually the very enemy of the concept of democracy itself, because it means in any member state there is nothing the electorate can do to change a single piece of European law.”


Nicoletta Amato