Career in The EU

- We have plenty of room for you in the EU

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager encouraged students to apply for jobs in the EU during her recent visit

By Stine Charlotte Hansen, , 11/23/2018

Half of the Danish employees in the EU will be retiring during the next five years, so we will have plenty of room for well-trained committed students from SDU.

These were the words that EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager used to conclude an hour-long citizens’ dialogue at SDU on 5 November.

Prior to her talk, Vestager had been bombarded with questions about everything from how she hit Google with a billion-dollar fine, to how the EU will solve the problem of companies paying different taxes in different countries.

A difference in people’s everyday lives

The Commissioner also talked about the EU as a career path. There are many job opportunities, as there are upwards of 50,000 workplaces in the EU.

For example, as a EU employee you can take advantage of the Erasmus programme, which allows young people to participate in exchange programmes in other countries.

- You can also work within the research of endocrine disrupting substances.Working in the EU can easily be very concrete and help make a difference in people's everyday lives, she explained.

Part of the community

Student Mathilda Rasmussen was among the audience. She was one of many who were curious about the possibility of making a career in the EU. 

- I like the idea of being involved. Our world is becoming more globalised and it is important to take part in the community, said Mathilda, who studies Market and Management anthropology. 

- It would be exciting to look at companies that crawl into tax havens and the problems that are created by this. In my opinion, these companies should live up you their responsibilities and pay tax. 

Living in Brussels

Moderator Peter Bro kept track of the questions from the hall and remarked that they were about to run out of time. Vestager replied elegantly to his remark:

- When you say run, it puts me in mind of the Belgian French fries. They are simply better. They are cooked twice in beef fat. Then you know that you need to run.

She explained with a smile that Brussels is a city that grows on you. Especially when you realise as a Dane that the Belgians rules regarding construction are not as strict as the ones we have in Denmark. 

The EU will crumble without support

Cecilie Sinding had come from Sønderborg Campus to hear the citizens’ dialogue. She hoped that Margrethe Vestager would elaborate on how we can strengthen democracy in the EU. 

Vestager skimmed the subject when she said that her biggest hope for the EU is that people will take an interest in the democracy of the EU and that it will be used, otherwise it will crumble. 

- When someone mentions the EU, people are all of a sudden busy with other things such as their list of Christmas presents, she joked. 

We cannot solve everything by ourselves

The EU Commissioner’s facial expression soon became serious again when she stressed:

- We don’t need to say the EU. I think of the EU more as a way we can solve something together, which we are unable to solve by ourselves. How do we find ways to solve the problem of global warming? 

- For example, can we send energy from Danish wind turbines to the Germans so they can reduce their use of coal a little, she suggested?

Presiding over 900 employees

As EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager presides over 900 employees who work with her to reduce irregularities and distortionary conditions for companies and consumers.

She currently has two trainees in her staff that work for the EU for a modest salary for a five-month period.

One of them works with competition law, the other with media relations. 

- There are few Danes who sign up for the trainee positions that are known as Blue Book Trainees. But it would be a good idea to learn a little about this before sitting the concours, which is the test everyone must take if they wish to apply for jobs in the EU, said Vestager encouragingly.