In Summary - MEP
The Work - MEP
MEPs are elected to deal with European issues. The main task of an MEP is to vote on European legislation, shaping the direction it takes.
Work activities of an MEP include:
- Assisting in the scrutiny of legislation
- Speaking in debates
- Constituency work
Every MEP has an opportunity to produce amendments to proposals, to argue for them at committee level, and try to win support for them at the monthly voting session in Strasbourg. These amendments reflect the amount of contact MEPs have with civil society and can range from interaction with significant lobbying groups to small NGOs or local communities. Irish MEPs came middle of the league in the average number of amendments proposed at committee stage.
Interests - MEP
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Linguistic's interests are usually focused on ideas and information exchange. They tend to like reading a lot, and enjoy discussion about what has been said. Some will want to write about their own ideas and may follow a path towards journalism, story writing or editing. Others will develop skills in other languages, perhaps finding work as a translator or interpreter. Most Linguistic types will enjoy the opportunity to teach or instruct people in a topic they are interested in.
MEPs require an in-depth understanding of the EU and how it functions. Additional languages will also help.
Entry Requirements - MEP
To become an MEP you must be elected. To stand for election you must be a national of one of the 28 EU countries.
The European Parliament is made up of 775 Members (MEPs) elected from the Member States of the enlarged European Union. 
Since 1979 MEPs have been directly elected by each member state for a period five-years.
Direct elections are held every 5 years, usually in June (The 2014 European elections were held in May). Each Member State decides on the form its election will take, but follows identical democratic ground rules: equality of the sexes and a secret ballot.
In all Member States, the voting age is 18, with the exception of Austria, where it is 16. European elections are already governed by a number of common principles: direct universal suffrage, proportional representation and a five-year renewable term.
The seats are, as a general rule, shared out proportionately to the population of each Member State. Each Member State has a set number of seats, the maximum being 99 and the minimum 6. Ireland has 11 seats.
The 11 Irish representatives to the European Parliament are elected by secret ballot on the single transferable vote system in three multi-member constituencies as follows:
- Dublin - 3 MEPs
- Midlands-North-West - 4 MEPs
- South 4 MEPs
Who can become an MEP?
Every Irish citizen and every resident citizen of another EU Member State, over 21 years of age, who is not disqualified by Community or national law and is not standing as a candidate in another Member State, is eligible to be elected in Ireland to the European Parliament. Persons undergoing a prison sentence in excess of six months and persons of unsound mind are disqualified from election.
Certain occupations are incompatible with membership of the Parliament, for example, Ministers and Ministers of State, Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, members of the judiciary, members and officials of various EU institutions, civil servants, wholetime members of the Defence Forces and Gardaí (police).
Useful Publication: How Ireland's MEPs are Elected [PDF]
Last Updated: July, 2014
Pay & Salary - MEP
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 96k - k
€96,246 pa or €8,020.53 monthly before tax. (Salary is fixed at 38.5% of a European Court of Justice judge). (After EU tax/accident insurance, €6,250.37 monthly). Member states can also tax the salary. Other expenses include:
Travel Costs to and from Brussels/Strasbourg, plus max. €4,243pa for travel to official events abroad.
Daily allowance of €304 for accommodation/meals while in Strasbourg/Brussels.
General allowance of €4,299 for office costs.
Max. €21,209pm per MEP for accredited assistants in Brussels (paid directly by the Parliament and in member states through agents to ensure proper tax and social security arrangements).
Retired MEPs entitled to pension paid by the EU from 63 years of age equal to 3.5% of salary for each full year's service to a maximum of 70% of salary (approx. €1,300pm for every 5-year term served.
Last Updated: April, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.