The European Parliament regularly receives enquiries from citizens about staff working for Members of the European Parliament.
Members are free to choose their own staff, although they may not employ close relatives. To cover the costs of hiring staff, Members have a monthly budget of about €25 000 at their disposal. However, the Parliament does not simply give these sums to the Members. Parliament pays their staff salaries directly – and contributes to the relevant tax and social security authorities.
Three categories of staff work for Members: ‘accredited parliamentary assistants’, ‘local assistants’ and trainees.
Members choose their accredited parliamentary assistants. The European Parliament then hires them under a direct contract. They assist Members in the exercise of their functions in the Parliament’s premises at one of its three places of work (Brussels, Luxembourg or Strasbourg). Members of the European Parliament can recruit a maximum of three accredited assistants or, in certain circumstances, four. At least a quarter of the total budget must be used for the employment of accredited assistants.
Members hire local assistants to work for them on EU matters in the country where they were elected, under employment contracts governed by national law. A maximum of three quarters of the total budget can be used for these local assistants.
Trainees have a traineeship agreement with a Member. They can work either in the Parliament’s premises or in the country of election.
Several Members can pool together to recruit one or several accredited or local assistants.
Staff working for Members carry out a wide range of tasks, which are determined by the Member, based on his/her official functions within Parliament (such as Vice-President or Quaestor), his/her interests, as well as his/her personal style.
Common tasks carried out by Members’ staff include administration (such as organising meetings, answering calls or managing the Member’s agenda and mailbox); parliamentary work (such as drafting amendments, following the activities of committees, preparing plenary sessions or negotiating with other Members’ assistants); policy (for instance building expertise on files where the Member is active); and communication (for example drafting speeches or managing the Member’s social media accounts). The names of staff of Members of the European Parliament are published on the Parliament’s website.
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