Lesson 02: Staff recruitment and selection


Although the EU possesses significant personnel resources to deploy various types of foreign/security policy missions, it also still relies very heavily on seconded staff contributed by its member states for certain conflict prevention and peacebuilding actions, as well as contracted staff. This reliance generates multiple coordination problems and can easily result in delays and shortfalls in the provision of adequate mission staff (among other problems, such as a lack of appropriate training). In part to address this problem, the EU’s Goalkeeper project is intended to rationalise this EU capability, and it involves a specific element (‘Registrar’) devoted to recruitment and selection/deployment of mission staff (among other elements).

However, the research summarised in DL 2.1 found that despite a decade of development (since 2007), Goalkeeper was still in the process of full implementation in 2017. This delay (owing in part to bureaucratic changes, but also national sensitives) has adversely affected staff recruitment, as the systems used by EU member states are heterogeneous and many of them present some gaps (i.e. the selection of personnel with limited specific competences or with weak language skills), with knock-on consequences for the work of the missions. The full implementation of the Goalkeeper system could considerably facilitate the civilian capability development process, provided that it is duly supported by member states. DL 2.1 also suggested that Germany and Sweden represent positive models for other member states and for EU standardisation in this area.

The issue of staff recruitment/selection was also highlighted by DL 3.2, which found that the SECPOL.2 division of the EEAS (responsible for conflict prevention and mediation) and the Commission’s DEVCO unit B.7 were not adequately resourced in terms of personnel (including their expertise and their access to high-level decision-making), which could inhibit the EU’s capacity to prevent important conflicts as well as respond to urgent crises. This finding was echoed in the conclusions of DL4.1, which identified a shortfall in the provision of well-trained staff by EU member states, especially on a short-notice basis of the kind necessary for rapid crisis response. Maintaining EU expert rosters up-to-date has proven difficult and a database containing of former mission staff does not exist. This deliverable also pointed to the need to get the Mission Support Platform established and strengthened. Without the full deployment of Goalkeeper, and without more extensive standing staff resources in this area, EU member states have to work even harder to coordinate their efforts when a deployment is necessary.


Fully implement Goalkeeper, standardise recruitment procedures for civilian personnel among member states and ensure that SECPOL.2 and DEVCO unit B.7 are adequately staffed with qualified personnel.

Related Deliverables

dl_2-1DL 2.1: Procedures, Personnel and Technologies for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding: An Assessment of EU Member States’ Capabilities

Authors: De Zan, T., P. Tessari and B. Venturi
Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali

Published: 30 November 2016

[PDF, ~2.1MB; click to access]


DL 2.5: Dual use technologies and civilian capabilities: Beyond pooling and sharing

Authors: Aversano Stabile, A.A. MarroneN. Pirozzi and B. Venturi
Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali

Published: 25 September 2018

[PDF, ~0.5MB; click to access]


dl_3-2DL 3.2: The EU’s Capabilities for Conflict Prevention

Authors: Davis, L., N. Habbida and A. Penfrat
Institution: European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Published: 30 January 2017

[PDF, ~1MB; click to access]


dl_4-1DL 4.1: Reacting to Conflict: Civilian Capabilities in the EU, UN and OSCE

Authors: Dijkstra, H., P. Petrov and E. Mahr
Institution: Maastricht University

Published: 2 November 2016

[PDF, ~1.6MB; click to access]



Related Lessons


Regions/countries: N/A

Institutions: EC EEAS

Policy phases: Planning Policy-making Implementation

Conflict-cycle stages: Conflict prevention Crisis response Conflict management

Cross-cutting issues: Warning-response gap

Topics: Personnel

Back to the Catalogue of Lessons Identified