A final salary pension scheme? What's that? A job for life? What's one of those? Nice work if you can get it, which is precisely why it's so popular:
A starting salary of £45,000 plus a relocation bonus of £7,200. A pension worth up to 70% of your final salary and 24 days of leave plus "travel" days. Oh, and a job for life .
All this, and more, is up for grabs if you manage to pass the entrance exams to work for the European Union.
So it is little wonder that in excess of 50,000 eager young Europeans attempt the process known as the Concours every year.But there's a 'problem':
They compete for a mere 320 places and so are, it is argued, the Praetorian guard of European civil servants
Now some might say cynically so what? But:
However, while the UK has about 12% of the EU's population, it provides only 5% of the EU's staff.
...for Britain's ambassador to the EU, Kim Darroch, this misses the point.
I love the inherent contradiction in the first 2 paragraphs that a British official who has gone 'native' and whose loyalty would be to the EU, would be able to 'fight' Britain's corner albeit subtlety. So why, asks the BBC stroking its jaw in contemplation, are there so few Brits (my emphasis):
"Brits working in the EU are not working for the British government, they are working for the European Union," he says.
"But what they bring is an understanding of British culture and of the importance in the UK of enterprise and of the British common law system. It's a reality that when you're working with a commission official, if you have a common background, then the relationship is different."
This subtle impact is acknowledged by the few Brits who have actually made it through the exams.
Oh those pesky negative views. And a wonderful lack of irony by the BBC regarding fat cats given the first paragraph of this article. Of course there may actually be other reasons that the EU is unpopular aside from bent cucumbers, and not just by the UK (translated via Google):
...he points to the "negative impression" many have about the EU.
"We all hear the stories about the gravy train; the fat cats; the straight bananas, the bent cucumbers,"
Employers in Germany have called on the European Parliament to vote against an extension of maternity leave to 20 weeks at full pay. The plans would lead to higher costs for businesses and could also worsen the employment opportunities of women.So anyway we are all agreed that we need more Brits at the top table because:
...It is simply a more elegant way of doing business...you work with a bright bunch of people and you make policy that affects peoples' lives."More elegant because the messy democratic way of doing things doesn't intrude. The coalition unsurprisingly agree:
That there is, of course, another solution naturally doesn't get a mention.
But the British government is tired of hearing stories like Nick's.
It has already re-started a programme called the European Fast Stream to prepare British candidates for taking the exams.
The event in London on Monday, with Mr Clegg and Mr Hague, is part of the ongoing project of trying to raise the profile of the EU as an employer.