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The dangers of EPSO’s new recruitment system


This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog

The dangers of EPSO's new recruitment system

EPSO’s recruitment reform from March 2010 has been a huge success. It has lowered the barrier to entry for many potential candidates by eliminating the much hated EU knowledge tests (think of “How many times has Viviane Reding been a European Commissioner until now?”) and thus opening the door for some 37,000 applicants for the Administrator exams this spring. But this new system has a huge inherent danger: many of the new recruits will know very little about how EU institutions operate when they start working in them.


Sure, the Assessment Centre has a case study where domain specific and profile related knowledge is tested. It can also give you a competitive advtange if you know the European Union relatively well. Yet when extra points are given if a candidate knows what the ordinary legislative procedure is or (s)he can tell the difference between a regulation and a directive, it shows that the required EU knowledge is of basic level. However, if a successful candidate starts working at the European Court of Auditors or in the European Commission, (s)he is going to have a terribly hard time adapting to this environment without being familiar with, at least in theory, the key decision-making, institutional and policy rules.


Does it mean EPSO got it wrong?


Probably not, as long as the lowering of the barrier for those having the right competencies with little or no EU expertise is compensated when they start working: training, especially induction training for newcomers must be massively improved. Until now, most of the new reruits had to go through three days of general training – the new ones, recruited under the reform system in 2010, should be given a crash course on the role of the EU institutions, the decision-making triangle, basics of EU law, economic governance and European competencies.


Don’t get us wrong: we are absolutely in favour of the new recruitment system. But EPSO’s aim, to have people who are “operational from day one”, can only be achieved when smart, skilled, talented and motivated new EU officials also have the “inside” knowledge their job description requires.


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Posted in Online EU Training

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