Seconded National Experts (SNEs) have a dual role: they bring their experience of the issues they are used to dealing with to the Commission, and take back to their home administration the knowledge of EU issues which they acquire during their period of secondment.
SNEs are typically seconded from the civil services of EU countries, so the vast majority are national, regional or local civil servants. As well as civil servants, experts from international organisations, universities, reseach centers and entities belonging to the public sector can also be seconded to the Commission, especially in areas where their unique skills and knowledge are specifically required by the Commission.
As an SNE you will work alongside Commission officials, helping to achieve the strategic objectives defined by a Directorate-General or Service for the benefit of EU citizens. On secondment, you will work under the instructions of an EU official, according to a detailed job description and governed by rules that help avoid the risk of any conflicts of interest. More information is available in the Rules on the Secondment of National Experts to the Commission.
Most SNEs are nationals from a European or European Economic Area country, but in exceptional cases non EU/EEA nationals can also be seconded to the Commission. You must have at least three years work experience at an appropriate level and your employer will need to supply the Commission with a statement of the nature of your employment over the previous year. You should have a satisfactory knowledge of a second Community language in addition to your native language. The Commission takes geographical and gender balance into account when considering Seconded National Experts.
The Commission recruits Seconded National Experts from EU countries via their Permanent Representations to the EU. If you are interested in working as an SNE, you should initially enquire at your Permanent Representation to the EU. There you should be put in touch with the person responsible for managing SNE recruitment from your Member State who can deal with your request.
Your secondment is formalised by a bilateral agreement between the Commission's administration and the civil service or organisation from which you are being seconded. In practice, this involves an exchange of letters between the Director-General for Human Resources and Security and the Office of the Permanent Representative of the Member State concerned or your employer.
Your secondment can be for a minimum of six months and up to a maximum of four years in principle. You can return for a second period of secondment once an interval of at least 6 years has passed.
As an SNE, you should continue to be paid by your employer but the Commission pays you compensation for the extra costs of living and working abroad. This consists of a daily subsistence allowance and you may also be eligible for a monthly allowance depending on the distance from your place of origin.
You remain covered by the social security provisions of your employer, but you will also be covered by the Commission's accident insurance scheme during the time you are seconded to the Commission.
For more information, including details of your rights, working conditions and working hours, see the Rules on the Secondment of National Experts. [68 KB]