Civil servants

Civil servants

According to the budget, the EU institutions employed more than 47,487 civil servants in 2013. They co-operate with many more civil servants from the member states. Civil servants have a very strong role in both the national preparation process and in the EU.

They effectively decide most laws behind closed doors without the presence of elected members of parliament. 

About 70% of all EU legislation is drawn up by working groups in the Council, 15% or so by the ambassadors in COREPER, and only some 15% arises in discussion in the Council of Ministers proper. 

In the EU Commission, only 2% or so of the decisions are taken by the Commission proper, whereas  around 25 % of decisions are taken on the basis of written procedure between the Commissioners. The rest are effectively  decided by individual Commissioners or by civil servants attached to the various Commissioner Cabinets

The Commission is currently running around 3000 secret working groups and the Council has some 275. The European Parliament is not happy with this situation, contending that these working groups possess too much power relative to their democratic accountability. 

Official calculations of the number of staff working for the EU was  around 43,564. Research by the think-tank Open Europe has even suggested that close to 170,000 people are in some way employed by the EU institutions.  

An EU diplomatic corps to strengthen the EU's representation abroad has been established under the Lisbon Treaty. This is the European External Action  Service. The existing 139 EU delegations have been turned into EU embassies. 

The Lisbon Treaty has a chapter on administrative cooperation between the member states.