There are about 1,500 assistants who assist MEPs . Their tasks vary enormously: they can range from secretarial tasks to acting as a full blown political advisor. Usually it is a mixture of several roles so assistants are often a sort of secretary-advisor-press-officer-tour guide (for visitors) all rolled into one.

MEPs can choose their own staff within a budget set by Parliament. Accredited assistants, based in Brussels(or Luxembourg/Strasbourg) are administered directly by Parliament’s administration, under the conditions of employment for non-permanent EU staff. Pay commences on Grade  1 with a monthy salary of € 1,619 monthly net of tax and rises to Grade 2  with a monthly salary of € 1,886). Assistants’ contracts are managed by the parliamentary authorities in accordance with the Assistant’s Statute. Expenses and a per diem are paid by parliamentary authorities in addition to the salary. Assistants based in MEPs’ Member States are handled by qualified paying agents, guaranteeing the proper tax and social security arrangements. In 2011, the maximum monthly amount available for all the costs involved is € 21 209 per MEP. None of these funds are paid to the MEP themselves. Up to a quarter of this budget can be used for services from service providers chosen by the MEP, such as ordering an expert study on a particular subject. In general, MEPs can no longer have close relatives among their staff, though there is a transitional period for those who were employed in the previous term.

Assistants are usually young (often freshly graduated from University) and most of them stay only for a short period. Only a small number of the assistants stay in Parliament for several years, either for the same MEP or switching from one MEP to another. Assistants do not always follow their MEP everywhere he or she goes. Even if some of some are adepts of the plenaries in Strasbourg, there is often a split between those assistants to an MEP that follow him or her and those that stay at the home office in Brussels or in the home country.

It is usual - though not universal - for them to be part of the same political group or party as their MEP. This shared political outlook, the long hours and the variety of tasks normally mean that a close working understanding between and MEP and their assistant is vital.

Assistants handle a wide range of tasks:


  • Management of the Brussels office with high volume and complex administration; providing secretarial and office support to MEP, including: managing and responding to mail, managing MEP’s diary, responding to information requests, booking meetings, organising travel arrangements, general office support.
  • Drafting, coordinating, political strategy and lobbying work to influence relevant legislation via Parliamentary Committees and plenaries
  • Representing MEP as appropriate, attending meetings on MEP’s behalf, briefing colleagues and the media
  • Liaising with researchers of the political group, staff in the constituency office, Brussels-based NGOs and delegations and other institutions
  • Speech writing and press work as appropriate
  • Desk research for reports, speeches, Parliamentary questions/letters and constituent queries
  • Recruitment, management and training of stagiaires
  • Organising and overseeing group visits, seminars and receptions
  • Administering and overseeing expenditure of budget line for publications

They are thus key elements in the process and should never be disregarded whatever the role they play.

MEP Assistants know that their bosses have hectic schedule and do not like to see their time wasted. They will care about you if:


  • The arguments you bring to them and their MEP is well-structured, easy-to-use, in the right formats and allows them to shine and/or make their boss look good.
  • You do not have to them only to ask: third parties outside the European Parliament have access to documents from other institutions faster that people in the institutions themselves! Sharing that information, pointing them in the right direction, being willing to respond to questions that might not be related to a dossier you are involved in… all this makes them care!
  • You consider them as equally important to their boss!


Add new comment