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What does it take to become an EU employee?

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On 9 February 2016 the National University of Public Service organized an EU career day for its students. Dr. Boglárka Koller, Vice Dean at the Faculty of International and European Studies said that the event was designed to meet the needs of the students who would like to get more familiar with the EU qualifying exams. On the occasion that new Concours-themed courses will start soon, dr. Gabor Zupkó, Head of Representation at the European Commission, dr. András Czeti, Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU and dr. Katalin Freier, former delegate of the European External Action Service shared their experiences on working for the EU.

As a start of the day, Gábor Zupkó encouraged the audience to play an active role in the life of the Union. “There is no such thing as the Union and Hungary: every Hungarian is the citizen of the Union”, he said, which results in inevitable benefits. In addition to the ability of accessing the common market or the opportunity of studying abroad, EU civil service positions become available as well. Jobs with the EU provide longer-lasting contracts, better working conditions and higher wages compared to the private sector. And what does it take to become an EU employee? First and foremost faith in Europe, knowledge and skills to pass the qualifying exams and a bit of luck – he said.

András Czeti gave a detailed description of the qualifying exams. The Corvinus University associate professor said that the current Concours exams consist of five parts. With a Bachelor’s degree in hand, applicants shall register on the website of the European Personnel Selection Office to complete a computerized test in a dedicated test centre. The test which lasts approximately two hours is made up of a verbal and a numerical reasoning part and is made complete with abstract reasoning and a situational judgement tasks. Candidates shall pass each part with a minimum of 50%. This is followed by the so-called E-tray, a simulated work task. Applicants have to decide between possible courses of actions based on an outline of emails, evaluating the opportunities on a relative scale. As the last stage of the exam, candidates are asked to prepare a case study in the assessment centre making use of 40-50 pages of given background material. The case study is followed by a group debate, a personal interview and a 10-minute small lecture that the candidate has to prepare on spot touching on given material again. Once the candidate succeeds in all steps, his name will appear in the central database allowing institutes to reach out regarding vacancies.

Katalin Freier warned the audience: the ability to speak different languages is one of the most important prerequisites of filling a position in the EU. Work is carried out mainly in English, but French and German language skills are also expected. In case of Brussels positions, one has to speak French fluently as it may be the official language of mailing. It is good to know however that following the Lisbon Treaty, EU employees may work outside the Union as well, holding a position in one of the 139 offices worldwide belonging to the European External Action Service. Delegates of the European External Action Service may work in a variety of countries such as Botswana, Ivory Coast or Thailand.

Currently, the European Commission employs roughly 45,000 officials and 10,000 contractual employees out of which approximately 1300 are Hungarian. Bearing the 1.97% EU population share in mind, one might say that this equals a 50% over-representation, but there are no reasons to worry, argued András Czeti, as there are no reserved places or quotas applying to officials within the Union.  March sees the next possibility to register for the Concours exams, while May-June will give space for the computerized tests. The tests of the assessment centre are expected to take place in September-October. Once a candidate receives positive feedback in all stages, he will be registered for work sometime around December. With a bit of luck, spring applications submitted this year can lead to job interviews and proposals in the beginning of 2017.


Text: Dorottya Pétery
Photos: Dénes Szilágyi
Tags: EU, career day, 2016

Kosovo deserves EU membership

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A very much European year is behind us – said H.E. Hashim Thaci, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo in his speech held at the Assembly Hall of the Ludovika Campus of NUPS on 9 December 2015. In his presentation titled “Euro-Atlantic Efforts of Kosovo”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reminded that 2015 not only marked the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU but also border-agreements with Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania while negotiations are still in process with Serbia.

The diplomatic dialogue based on tolerance and cooperation shows that Kosovo’s place is indeed in the European Union – emphasized H.E. Hashim Thaci. He added that Kosovo would like to be regarded by the EU as any other country in the region, and for this is willing to make compromises. Although accession is a long process, the country has departed on the road to membership. Nevertheless, Kosovo views NATO as a partner as well, is a member of the international coalition combating ISIS, and actively fights against the spread of radical ideologies and terrorism.

Márton Schőberl, Director of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade analysed the situation of Kosovo and stated that integration is a sensitive issue even if Hungary supports Kosovo’s efforts regarding the EU. In his view, the various unresolved issues set back the countries on the Balkans and that the matter is more complicated than it seems at first sight.

Dr. Nobert Kis, Vice-Rector for Continuing Education and International Affairs at NUPS emphasized the role of Kosovo regarding the issue of migration. Hashim Thaci said that although his country was a source of illegal migration, nowadays, the political situation is being settled with the intention to re-integrate the previously emigrated people into society as soon as possible. Regarding the illegal migration running through the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said a great attention is required. Kosovo dissociates from radical thoughts, while their active support can be punished by 5-15 years of prison in accordance with local laws.


Ambassador’s Forum with H.E. Ilan Mor

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The National University of Public Service organized the second Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika, this time with H.E. Ilan Mor, Ambassador of the State of Israel in Budapest as the guest of honour on the 18th of June 2015. The event series was initiated by NUPS with the aim of establishing a future meeting place and forum of discussions for representatives of diplomacy and academia.

Following the welcome address of Prof. Dr. András Patyi, Rector of NUPS, H.E. Ilan Mor gave a keynote speech titled “EU-Israel Relations: Constructive Dialogue or Two Monologue?” The ambassador made open remarks about the European Union and touched upon – inter alia – the subject of Arab-Israeli relations.

After the presentation, H.E. Ilan Mor, Dr. Erzsébet Nagyné Rózsa, Head of the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy at the Faculty of International and European Studies and Dr. Károly Grúber, former Ambassador (Representative to the PSC) in Brussels discussed the mentioned topics in a roundtable session. Dr. Károly Grúber and H.E. Ilan Mor agreed that the bilateral relations between Hungary and the State of Israel are specifically good, with Hungary currently holding the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. According to H.E. Ilan Mor, however, in certain issues the EU and Israel do not have a proper dialogue. The participants of the roundtable discussion also emphasized the importance of common values within bilateral and multilateral relations.

H.E. Ilan Mor pointed out that the security situation of the State of Israel is constantly changing. Dr. Erzsébet Nagyné Rózsa added that the security environment of Hungary is also under change, in that the pressure of migration and the situation in Ukraine forced Hungary to face new challenges. During the Q&A session, H.E. Ilan Mor shortly touched upon the decision of the United States’ Supreme Court in the Jerusalem passport case.

After the roundtable session, the participants of the Forum carried on with their discussion while enjoying a selection of wine and cheese provided by the Embassy of the State of Israel in Budapest. In addition, they were acquainted with examples of Israeli literature through a book exhibition supported by the Embassy.


The EU’s highest ranking military officer at NUPS

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General Patrick de Rousiers, Chairman of the European Union Military Committee has made an official visit to Hungary on the 31st of October 2014. The highest ranking military officer of the EU has also held a presentation on the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy at the Hungária Campus of NUPS.

The General was officially welcomed by Colonel Dr. Gábor Boldizsár, Dean of the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training, Colonel Prof. Dr. László Kovács, Vice-Dean for Science and International Affairs and Colonel Zsolt Molnár, Commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces “Ludovika” Battalion.

In his interesting and dynamic presentation, General de Rousiers reminded about the organizational elements defining the European Union’s common security policy and had a distinctive focus on the rapid reaction force that could be one of the EU’s military pillars in the future. The discussion was held under the moderation of General (ret.) Prof. Dr. Zoltán Szenes, Head of the Department of International and Security Studies at the Institute of International Studies. General Szenes highlighted the issue of the coordination between the common areas of activity of NATO and the EU – a point which General de Rousiers touched upon several times.

After the presentation, Colonel Boldizsár displayed the organizational structure, mission and role of the National University of Public Service. General de Rousiers showed great interest regarding the common training module of the three branches of public service (military and law enforcement officers and public administration officials) emphasizing the importance of their cooperation in today’s crisis situations.

At the end of the event, Colonel Kovács handed over the regards and present of Prof. Dr. András Patyi, Rector of NUPS to General de Rousiers saying thanks to his honourable visit and presentation at the university.