Political Advisors and Staff
Who are they?
Political Groups are entitled to specifically allocated staff, the number of which is set in relation to the size of the Political group and the number of working languages used within the Group.
This has meant that large groups such as the EPP-ED have been attributed over 270 staff members, whilst smaller groups can have only 30. This means that the larger political groups can have several advisors following the same Committee whilst the smaller groups might have one advisor following the work of several Committees.
The vast majority of the political group employees are temporary agents, which means they do not enjoy the same job security as the permanent officials, but also that they are designated by the political parties without having to go through the open competitions system.
Where are they?
Political advisors have offices in Brussels and Strasbourg but do not necessarily follow their Group to Strasbourg if, for example, there is no issue they specifically followed for their political group being discussed at the plenary session.
What do they do?
Political advisors have usually both general and sector-specific responsibilities and play an important role in shaping the decisions made by a political group through their various tasks:
- They follow what happens within the Committees
- They prepare the discussions and supply background information for their group meetings
- They assist in the formulation of a Group position before plenaries
- They physically gather MEPs from other Committees to come and vote as substitutes when a vote is tight in their Committee
- They keep in touch with national parties, Commissioners of their political colour and other organizations.
Good to know
Political advisors to Committees are certainly worth meeting when a legislative instrument you are interested in is handled by that Committee.
In many cases, even if the Rapporteur is involved hands on in a Report, he or she leaves a lot of the less important issues to the appreciation of the political advisor in terms of appreciation of how important that issue is and, more importantly, if it should have a positive or negative voting recommendation on the voting list.
Political advisors tend to deepen themselves more heavily into dossiers than most and are therefore to be approached with sound and well-thought arguments.
They are not afraid of delving into technical matters and should certainly not be underestimated.
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