Staff Recruitment Procedure


The present European Defence Agency Staff Recruitment Procedure describes the rules and procedures to be applied for recruitment, selection and appointment of personnel to European Defence Agency posts. 

Throughout the current procedure:

  • where the context so admits, the masculine gender shall be deemed to include the feminine;
  • where applicable, references to Agency shall be interpreted as European Defence Agency.

1. Scope 

This procedure is applicable to the posts in the Agency (designated as fixed term contracts, either temporary agents, seconded national experts, seconded officials from the institutions or contract staff), which are identified as new or vacant and are covered by the Agency’s general budget (special provisions apply to the appointment of the Agency's top management - the Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive, and the Directors of the four main Directorates - as specified in Articles 10 and 11 of the Joint Action n°2004/551/CSFP on the establishment of the European Defence Agency).

By exception to this procedure, the secondment of national experts or Officials for particular tasks or ad hoc projects will be done on the basis of a bilateral agreement between the Chief Executive of the Agency and the interested Member State or Institution.

2. Objectives of the Staff Selection Procedure

The objectives of the current procedure are:

  • to ensure a fair and transparent competition for all posts within the Agency;
  • to ensure the selection of the candidates on the basis of relevant competence and expertise, on the broadest possible geographical basis;
  • to clearly establish the roles and responsibilities of every function/office/authority involved in the process;
  • to describe the different phases of the recruitment process;
  • to ensure a smooth recruitment, avoiding interruption in the filling of posts.

3. General Remarks

a. Reference documents

Four basic documents are to be considered as reference:

  • the Joint Action adopted by the Council on 12 July 2004, whose Article 11 gives guidelines for the selection of Agency staff;
  • Decision on the Staff Regulations of the European Defence Agency adopted by the Council on 24 September 2004;
  • Decision on the Rules applicable to national experts and military staff on secondment to the European Defence Agency adopted by the Council on 24 September 2004;
  • Decision on Privileges and Immunities for the Agency’s staff agreed among participating Member States.
b. Over-seeing and co-ordination of the recruitment process

The Human Resources Section (HR Section) and the Corporate Services Director of the Agency shall be responsible for the over-seeing and co-ordination of the recruitment process.

c. Release by national authority

When applicable, staff selected (either seconded or with a fixed term contract) shall be formally released from their employment on the date of the entering in force of the signed contract/of their secondment to the Agency.

d. Nationality issues

Agency staff may be recruited from nationals from participating Member States only.

e. Renewal of the contract/secondment

In case of extension of the contract/secondment, the Chief Executive will, as for the placement of an initial contract/secondment:

  • for staff belonging to national administrations, make sure that the sending Member State will extend the secondment accordingly;
  • for senior staff, invite the Head of the Agency to consult the Steering Board;
  • for seconded officials, make sure that the sending Institution will extend the secondment accordingly.

4. Selection

a. Staff Selection

The Agency staff consists of:

  • Personnel recruited directly by the Agency under fixed term contracts;
  • National experts seconded by participating Member States;
  • Community Officials seconded to the Agency by an EU institution.

Selection will be conducted in accordance with the procedure described in this document. Appointment will be by the Chief Executive, subject to § 5.b. below.

Staff will be offered either a fixed term contract, or a seconded position within the Agency.

b. Selection of senior staff

The Steering Board appoints the Chief Executive and the two Deputy Chief Executives on a proposal from the Head of the Agency. The Head of the Agency appoints the four functional Directors (Capability Development, R&T, Armament, Defence Industry & Market Directors) upon a proposal from the Chief Executive following consultation with the Steering Board.

5. Identification of Needs

a. Initiation of the recruitment process

The recruitment process can be initiated if one of the following events has occurred or is due to occur:

  • departure (expiration of contract, resignation by the staff member, termination by Head of the Agency or by the Chief Executive, dismissal, death);
  • termination of contract during or at the end of the probationary period;
  • transfer of a staff member to a different post within the Organisation;
  • creation of new posts.
b. Agency structure adjustment

Changes to the Agency’s establishment (staffing structure) will for the foreseeable future be for initial decision by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Agency’s Management Board. The annual budget proposal will necessitate an annual review, and the Steering Board will automatically be invited to agree on the changes proposed; interim adjustments will be proposed for agreement to Member States under a silence procedure.

6. Vacancy Notices

a. Vacancy notice

On the basis of the job descriptions, and with the assistance of the Director/Head of Unit involved, the HR Section shall prepare the appropriate vacancy notice.

In addition to the description of the duties to be undertaken, the vacancy notice should contain background information about the post, define the experience, skills and security clearance required, starting date, number of staff to be managed by the job holder, the status of the agent (temporary, contractual and SNE) and any other relevant information about the post on offer that could facilitate the search for candidates.

b. Advertisement

The HR Section is responsible for placing the advertisement.

The vacancy notices, with a precise closing date, will be advertised within and outside the Agency to the Steering Board National Representatives (through their Points of Contact) and copied to the national Permanent Representations of the participating Member States accredited to European Union.

The vacancy notices will be also published on the Agency’s web site, as soon as this will be available.

The advertisement will be placed as early as possible in advance of the foreseen date for personnel contract signature, or Agency secondment.

c. Applications
  • The applications sponsored by the Defence Ministries of participating Member States should be appropriately endorsed by the relevant personnel department or other competent authority. If possible, Member States are encouraged to prioritise the applications;
  • In case of applications received from candidates within national administrations which have not been officially sponsored, and if the candidate is in a position to be on the short list for interview, the Agency will check with national authorities whether the individual, if successful, could be released;
  • Applications from elsewhere will be considered if they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Applications from EU Officials seeking a secondment to the Agency will be considered only if the post is open to such a possibility.

Member States, in sending the application forms, will be required to indicate that the candidate, where selected, will be released in time to achieve the starting date. In addition they have to confirm that the candidate meets the security clearance required for the post or that the process of authorisation has been launched.

Candidates should apply online using the Agency's application form available on the website. The form must be completed in English by typing in the appropriate information, together with the applicant’s signature. The form must contain detailed information on the candidate’s rationale and motivation to join the Agency.

7. Selection Committee

For each post, the Chief Executive will nominate a Selection Committee, which will consist of:

  • two senior representatives of the Agency’s staff, one being the Chairman of the Committee;
  • one representative of the HR Section, who will also perform the duties of secretary of the Selection Committee;
  • an extra expert, in an advisory capacity, may be added if deemed necessary.

8. Interviews

Applications screening

With the assistance of the relevant Director/Head of Unit, the HR Section will pre-screen the applications and verify if the candidates meet the conditions for eligibility for appointment as listed in the vacancy notice. If this is not the case the candidate will be considered as not eligible and be discharged, with appropriate explanation.

Pre-selection process

A short list of candidates selected for the interviews will be drawn up by the Selection Committee in coordination with the HR Section. Normally no more than five candidates will be called for interview. The HR Section will send by e-mail to all applicants the result (for them) of the screening. The HR Section (in co-ordination with the Selection Committee) will take care of the organisation of interviews as follows:

  • determines dates and times;
  • sends relevant individual invitations to the selected candidates;
  • prepares files (including vacancy notice, applications) for each Selection Committee member;
  • prepares the interviews in coordination with other Committee members.
    Ideally, interviews for the same post should take place on the same day, at the Agency premises.


As an indication, the interview should last around 45 minutes. The pattern of the interview will be the same for all candidates, with as far as possible the same questions used. The interview shall be conducted mainly in English. Depending of the specifications in the Vacancy Notice, some parts could be conducted in French. Should the candidate indicate that he has knowledge of other EU languages, such skills could be tested as appropriate. Where appropriate, other types of testing (e.g. practical test of computer skills) can be introduced, on a non-discriminatory basis.

Selection report

After the last interview, the Selection Committee members deliberate and record the strengths and weaknesses of any candidate or candidates they judge suitable for the post, with views on their relative merits. It is the responsibility of the Chairman to obtain a recommendation. The Selection Committee will then elaborate a report with a recommendation and in which, inter alia, the judgment of its members and the minority opinions, if any, will be stated. When possible, the report should establish a reserve list.

Obligation of confidentiality

All participants to the selection process shall, at all times, comply with the principle of confidentiality. In particular, they shall not release, within or outside the Agency, any information about the candidates or the selection exercise, except if explicitly tasked to do so by the Chief Executive.

9. Decision - Information to Candidates

The report of the Selection Committee will be submitted to the Chief Executive for the final decision, except if in relation to senior staff.

After the decision of the Chief Executive, the HR Section will send to the successful candidate, and to his national authorities where applicable, the following documents (depending of the status of the agent):

  • an e-mail confirming the decision;
  • the list of documents to be supplied to the Human Resources Section;
  • forms to be filled in for administrative purposes.

The successful candidate will be given seven working days from the date of notification to accept the offer of employment.

If the successful candidate does not accept the offer of employment, a new selection process will be launched, unless other candidates from the same competition are available on the reserve list.

Unsuccessful candidates will be informed, individually by e-mail of the decision regarding their application or the result of their interview.

10. Availability of the Selected Candidates

When applicable, the release of the selected candidates from the relevant Member States or the Institutions will be requested. If, in spite of the commitment referred to at § 4.c, the release date is not within 60 days of the job start date mentioned on the vacancy notice, the candidate may be dismissed and a new selection process will be initiated, if no reserve list is available.

11. Appointment of Staff

For Temporary Agents: subject to the receipt by the Agency of all relevant documents, including security clearance certificate and the results of the medical check, the selected candidate will be invited to sign the appropriate Agency contract. In the case where the Chief Executive decides to place the contract before the full completion of the security clearance process, the contract will be terminated if the clearance cannot be issued.

 For SNEs: the secondment of national experts will be implemented by an exchange of letters between the Chief Executive and the Permanent Representative of the Member States concerned.

For SCOs: the detachment of Officials will be effective after an exchange of letters between the Chief Executive and the concerned appointing authority.

12. Revision Schedule for this Procedure

This procedure will be revised every time it is deemed necessary. The Chief Executive is authorised to make amendments to this procedure as proves necessary and to adopt them with the assent of the Steering Board.

 Important disclaimer: all of the rules and figures presented in this website are for information purposes only. Rights can only be derived from the Staff Regulations and corresponding implementing rules. The exact financial conditions of employment may be determined only case by case.



Participating Member States

  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Italy
  • Cyprus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Hungary
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • UK