Directorate-General for Trade

The European Commission 5<y Senior Level  Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium 24 Mai 2019

Job Description

Directorate-General for Trade

Publication of a vacancy for the function of Principal Adviser (Grade AD 14)

(Article 29(2) of the Staff Regulations)

Official Journal C 166 A of 15/05/2019


We are

The Directorate-General for Trade (DG TRADE) is in charge of conducting the external trade policy of the European Union, one of the exclusive competences of the EU. Trade policy plays a critical role in growth, investment and jobs as the EU tries to meet the challenges of globalisation.

EU trade policy works along 3 main axes:

  • Sustainable trade
  •  Multilateral trade cooperation
  • Negotiation and implementation of bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements

DG TRADE continues to seek a dynamic, transparent and efficient policy process in the EU institutions, where the legal scope of trade policy matches the needs of EU traders, and the expectations of civil society. It works to develop through more active dialogue with all interested players a closer common understanding of the goal of sustainable trade.

For more information about DG TRADE as well as its organisation chart, please see:

We propose

The function of a Principal Advisor to advise the Director-General and to ensure the overall coherence of the EU trade relations with key trading partners, as well as coherence with other areas of EU policy relevant to the current debates around trade and multilateralism.

This advice covers EU negotiations at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels based on a deep understanding of EU policies and trade policy in particular, as well as an extensive experience in interacting with EU institutions and / or Member States.

The Principal Adviser will advise the Director-General and ensure coherence on issues related to EU trade relations with key partners. In this capacity, where mandated to do so and in close cooperation with the relevant senior managers in DG TRADE, the Principal Advisor will coordinate the preparation of Commission positions related to these matters and represent DG TRADE as needed in contacts with third countries representatives, as well as in the corresponding coordination settings within the European Commission and with other EU institutions and Member States.

The Principal Adviser would further replace the Director General in representing DG TRADE both within the European Commission or outside, with the seniority required in this context.

We look for (selection criteria)

The successful candidate should be an outstanding and dynamic professional able to demonstrate the following characteristics:

a) Management/advisory experience, and in particular:

− proven capacity to think creatively and strategically so as to generate a clear vision of the objectives to be achieved and to translate this into practical and realistic compromise solutions;

− proven experience and well-established capacity in providing expert advice and issuing opinions at strategic level;

− excellent political judgement and understanding of a complex political environment, being able to develop a global view on DG TRADE’s policies;


b) Technical knowledge and experience, and in particular:

− good understanding and knowledge of EU policies, notably but not only of the EU trade policy, and proven experience in shaping and implementing policies;

− good knowledge and understanding of the EU decision-making process;


c) Communication / negotiations skills, and in particular:

− accomplished interpersonal, decision-making and high-level negotiating skills at an international level and proven experience in representing and interacting with the European Union Institutions, Member States and third countries at a senior level;

− an excellent capacity to communicate effectively and efficiently with different stakeholders at a senior level and to build trusted relationships with them.


Candidates must (eligibility requirements)

Candidates will only be considered for the selection phase on the basis of the following formal requirements to be fulfilled by the deadline for applications:


– candidates must be a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union.

University degree or diploma: candidates must have:

– either a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma when the normal period of university education is 4 years or more;

– or a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma and appropriate professional experience of at least 1 year when the normal period of university education is at least 3 years (this one year’s professional experience cannot be included in the postgraduate professional experience required below).

Professional experience:

– candidates must have at least 15 years postgraduate professional experience at a level to which the qualifications referred to above give admission.

-Management experience: at least 5 years of the post-graduate professional experience must have been gained in a high–level advisory function1 in a field relevant for this position.

-Languages: candidates must have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union2 and a satisfactory knowledge of another of these official languages. Selection panels will verify during the interview(s) whether candidates comply with the requirement of a satisfactory knowledge of another official EU language. This may include (part of) the interview being conducted in this other language.

– Age limit: candidates must not have reached regular retirement age, which for officials of the European Union is defined as being the end of the month in which the person reaches the age of 66 years (see Article 52 lit (a) of the Staff Regulations3 ).

In addition, candidates have to have fulfilled any obligations imposed by law concerning military service; produce appropriate character references as to their suitability for the performance of their duties and be physically fit to perform their duties.

Selection and appointment

The European Commission will select and appoint the Principal Adviser according to its selection and recruitment procedures (see: Document on Senior Officials Policy4 ).

As part of this selection procedure, the European Commission sets up a pre-selection panel. This panel analyses all applications, proceeds with a first eligibility verification and identifies candidates having the best profile in view of the selection criteria mentioned above, and who may be invited for an interview with the pre-selection panel.

Following these interviews, the pre-selection panel draws up its conclusions and proposes a list of candidates for further interviews with the European Commission’s Consultative Committee on Appointments (CCA). The CCA, taking into consideration the conclusions of the pre-selection panel, will decide on the candidates to be invited for an interview.

Candidates who are called for an interview with the CCA participate in a full-day management assessment centre run by external recruitment consultants. Taking account of the results of the interview and the report of the assessment centre, the CCA establishes a shortlist of candidates it considers suitable to exercise the function of Principal Adviser.

Candidates on the CCA shortlist will be interviewed by the Member of the Commission responsible for Trade. Following this interviews, the European Commission takes the appointment decision.

For functional reasons and in order to complete the selection procedure as quickly as possible in the interest of the candidates as well as that of the institution, the selection procedure will be carried out in English and/or French only5 .

Equal opportunities

The European Commission applies a policy of equal opportunities and non-discrimination in accordance with Article 1d of the Staff Regulations6 .

Conditions of employment

The salaries and conditions of employment are laid down in the Staff Regulations7 .

The successful candidate will be recruited as an official at grade AD14. He / she will be classified depending on the length of his / her previous professional experience in step 1 or step 2 within that grade.

Applicants should note the requirement under the Staff Regulations for all new staff to complete successfully a nine-month probationary period.

The place of employment is Brussels.

The closing date for registration is 14 June 2019, 12.00 noon Brussels time, following which registration is no longer possible.